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MIS Systems Thread, Serco Facility and MS SQL server Express edition in Technical; I was given to understand that a CAL was required for any user that used Facility Admin, but only one ...
  1. #16

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    I was given to understand that a CAL was required for any user that used Facility Admin, but only one CAL was required for ePortal as it was the webserver querying the database, and not the ePorter users. This made sense to me as the CAL should cover a 'user' (a person or software agent) accessing the data, what then happens to the data is outside the remit of the CAL...
    I discussed this issue with Birmingham recently. A CAL is required for every user using CMIS and e-portal, so you have to work on the theoretical maximum users writing to the database. If you have more than 28 concurrent users, you're better off buying a CPU based license.

    If money isn't a problem, I would recommend a CPU based license. There are more admin users who require the use of CMIS today (for example), and now e-portal is becoming more popular, but what next? Parents accessing school information from home? I think in the next few years admin systems will all be accessed through a browser, BUT SQL will still be the engine of all this data in the background.

    Also remember that buying SQL software/licenses now should cover you for SQL 2008 too, so it's a good time to buy!

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    Hi guys,

    Michael's right in everything he said and i agree.
    The licensing for ePortal with SQL works by users concurrently connected to eportal.
    Even if it were the dataserver being connected to the database, you'd still need 5 because that's the default number of maximum SQL connections. But, it is considered 'multiplexing' software and when using multiplexing software each user must have the license, not each connection made by the software.

    It is a good time to buy as you'll be covered by 2008, though we don't yet support it, it makes you future proof.

    The reason we don't support SQL 2000 is because it has been phased out of mainstream support. I apreciate what you're saying about the chances are, it won't make much of a difference, but we have seen some queries perform differently in the different versions of SQL and it's no longer tested on 2000, so you never know. The other reason is we had to stop supporting (and therefore testing) SQL 2000 or we would not have the resources to begin support (and testing) SQL 2008.
    If you're running SQL 2000, and you're happy, you can continue to do so, but if you phone us with a technical query (which usually only happens in terms of disaster recovery) the more time goes on, the less chance there is we'll be able to resolve the issue if you are using SQL 2000, as the support team aren't training using it anymore and there are significant differences.

    In years to come we will be using more and more of features found in 2005 and 2008 such as stored procedures and management views, among other things, that don't exist in 2000.

    So you're technically speaking safe for the moment, but if you've got a data issue and you're running 2000, we won't be able to support it, and at some point, there will be a radical change in the software which will cause you problems. That will not be any time soon, though.

    Back to what we were saying about SQL only using 1gb of RAM if you're on express - SQL will only use half of the server ram by default. If you are running a Windows 2003 box with SQL 2005 SP2 and ePortal on it, as recommended, this works out about right with 4gb of RAM, as you'd want half to go to SQL, a quarter to the OS and a quarter to ePortal (apprx).

    The thing to bear in mind with SQL is that it will load as much of the database as possible into RAM (buffer cache) to avoid writing directly to disk, which is what slows it down.
    A schools Facility DB is typically between 600mb and 1.2gb, depending on the size of the school and how you use the software. If you have a 600mb db and only 1gb of RAM available (due to it being express) you only have 400mb left for queries. If your db is 1.2gb in size, it will still reserve some for queries, say a minimum of 300mb for example, and so you'd find 700mb in buffer cache and 500mb writing directly to disk, which is where the speed issue comes from.
    You've certainly made the right decision going for standard.

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    SQL licences

    If you purchase a processor licence from an approved academic licence reseller then it should cost you around £300. With a processor licence you do not need any CALs. RivaNet is such a copmany.
    If you go down the other route then you will need a CAL for every person who uses both Facility and ePortal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I discussed this issue with Birmingham recently. A CAL is required for every user using CMIS and e-portal, so you have to work on the theoretical maximum users writing to the database.
    I'm a bit annoyed by this - i was sure i'd been told i needed only enough CALs for Facility Admin users and one for the ePortal server, but reading this thread had me doubting myself. Just done a search and revealed a conversation i had over email with a Serco representative that specifically stated just this. Consequently I order all of 7 or 8 CALs, when i needed huge numbers more or, as suggested, a CPU license.
    So now I have to use my time to double check it again and potentially spend a huge chunk of my budget on more licenses? Grrrr...

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    @cheredenine:

    I'm sorry to hear you were given the wrong information. I'm on annual leave at the moment, but when i return to work in the new year i'll write a communication about licensing and send it to all implementation, sales, and support staff to ensure that everyone is aware of SQL licensing. As it isn't our software it is not something that has been trained in the past, but i will endeavour to make it part of the systems admin course, so any new staff will also be aware of this.

    Of course, this doesn't help your current situation, but please be confident that i'll do my best to ensure this doesn't happen again.

    If you want to discuss this further, please PM me and i'll be happy to send you my mobile number or call you on a number you might provide.

    Again, i apologise for the wrong information being given initially.

    Michael Sanderson
    Technical Team Engineer
    Serco Learning

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