License Channels

A license channel is a distribution channel for software products. The license channel identifies, in broad terms, what kinds of use rights apply to the software. The CAM Agent (or SCCM agent if using the CAM External Connector) can usually determine the license channel for installed software.

Notes regarding SQL Server licenses:

  • Channel information is not usually available during discovery for SQL Server purchases, so License Analytics relies on license assignments for that information.
  • The CAM External Connector is not supported for gathering SQL Server compliance data.

For Microsoft products, the license channels understood by License Analytics are:

  • Retail: Retail products are those purchased one at a time, typically by an end user. The use rights defined for retail products are usually contained in a EULA (end user license agreement). Retail products are usually licensed for use on a small number of computers under the control of a single person. Retail use rights generally do not include upgrades or downgrades (rights to use earlier or later software versions). The right to install the software is usually not tied to a single hardware device.
  • OEM: OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products are those purchased by a hardware manufacturer, installed on the hardware the manufacturer produces, and supplied to the end user along with the hardware. OEM use rights are usually contained in a EULA. The software license is tied to the specific hardware on which the software is installed, as indicated by the presence of a sticker or other mark. In the case of Windows Operating System licenses, the license usually allows the end user to install and use either the version of Windows installed, or the immediately prior version.
  • Volume: Volume licensed products require a separate agreement between the customer (usually a commercial, academic, or governmental organization) and either a Microsoft reseller or Microsoft itself. These licenses normally provide the customer the right to install and use an agreed-upon number of copies of licensed software. Volume agreements usually provide for downgrade rights (the right to run earlier versions of the purchased products), and may contain time-limited upgrade rights (the right to run later versions of purchased products). A volume license may apply to an entire enterprise, or to one or more organizational groups within an enterprise.
  • MSDN: Microsoft Developer Network licenses require a separate agreement between the customer and Microsoft. MSDN licenses are to be used solely for the customer’s internal use to develop products based on Microsoft technologies. Products installed with these licenses are not distinguishable by the CAM Agent from retail or volume licenses, but may be specified by group affiliation (see MSDN Software Installations).