Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2- Licensing Guide

  Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2-  Licensing Guide

 Using This Guide

Use this guide to improve your understanding of how to license Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2. It is not intended to guide you in choosing Microsoft Dynamics products and services. The examples presented in this guide are illustrative. Microsoft Corporation reserves the right to revise the existing version without prior notice.

For help determining the right technology solution for any given organization, including the license requirements for a specific product or scenario, consult with your Microsoft Dynamics Certified Partner or your Microsoft account team.

This guide does not supersede or replace any of the legal documentation covering use rights for Microsoft products. Specific product license terms are detailed in the Software License Terms document, which is available on the Microsoft Dynamics AX website.

License Keys vs. License Entitlements

An important distinction to make is between license keys (activation keys) and license entitlements. License keys are used to activate the Microsoft Dynamics software that the customer has licensed. License entitlements are what customers are entitled to run and use based on the licenses they have acquired.

How Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is Licensed

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is designed to be powerful, agile, and simple. Consistent with that theme, it is available for on-premises deployments through the familiar Microsoft Server/CAL licensing model. This licensing model provides an innovative, yet much simplified, way for customers to purchase an ERP solution.

One of the key strengths of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 is its focus on individual roles and their needs. We are connecting our role-tailored design to a simple licensing model, empowering customers to buy the licenses required to meet the needs of their individual users.

For customers, the benefits are simple and clear: It is easy to understand, buy, and pay for what users need while providing the flexibility to grow or change with the organization as needed.


All Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 customers need to license:

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 solution functionality, which is licensed through the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Server license, and
  • Access to the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 solution functionality by users or devices, which is licensed through Client Access Licenses (CALs).


Before you run any instance of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Server software under a Server license, you must assign that license to one of your servers. That server is the licensed server for that particular license. You may assign other Server licenses to the same server, but you may not assign the same license to more than one server. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate server. For each Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Server license you assign, you may run, at any one time, one instance of the server software in one physical or virtual operating system environment (OSE) on the licensed server. The Server license includes one application object server. If you want additional application object servers or additional server instances, you may purchase additional Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Server licenses.


Access to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 solution’s functionality is licensed through CALs. Any time a user directly or indirectly accesses the solution functionality, that user must be licensed by a User CAL (which licenses a specific user for access via multiple devices) or the device being used must be licensed by a Device CAL (which licenses access through a specific device by any user).

Note: Only the user or the device requires a CAL, not both. If the user of a device is licensed with a User CAL, then the device does not need a Device CAL. Likewise, if the device is licensed with a Device CAL, then the user does not need a User CAL.


There are four available CAL levels for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, each of which grants an increasingly wider spectrum of use rights. This gives customers the flexibility to license the solution based on how their users will use and derive value from the solution.

As you progress from the lowest level CAL (Self-Serve) to the highest level (Enterprise), the user is licensed to use the solution in ways that will provide more value. Customers therefore have the flexibility to decide which level of investment to make for any given individual based upon the functions that user is performing on behalf of the organization.


External (third party) users do not require CALs. Third party users are users that are not either (i) the customer’s or the customer’s affiliates’ employees, or (ii) the customer’s or the customer’s affiliates’ contractors or agents. In this sense, the definition of third party users does not extend to onsite contractors, vendors, and users performing business processes on the customer’s behalf.


Named CALs (either User or Device) cannot be shared. They can only be reassigned in specific cases as follows:

  • Permanently reassigning a CAL from one user or device to another, due to permanent personnel or device replacement.
  • Temporarily reassigning a CAL to a temporary worker while the assigned user is absent or to a temporary loaner device while an assigned device is out of order.


Multiplexing is the use of hardware or software (including manual procedures) to reduce the number of devices or individuals that access or use the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 solution by pooling connections. Multiplexing does not reduce the number of licenses required to access the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 solution. Any user that accesses the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 —whether directly or indirectly—must be properly licensed.



Providing users with access to the solution functionality is done by assigning each user one or more Security Roles. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Security Roles combine meaningful bundles of solution functionality and access rights required to perform actions relevant to that role.

To make it easier to understand the licenses required, each of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 Security Roles has a pre-determined CAL. When you assign Security Roles to users, you then know what CAL those users require.

For example, in a retail organization, the Accounts, Store Managers, and Cashiers require different use rights. By assigning those user groups to the appropriate Security Role, they get the functionality they need and you know the CAL type that is required.


  • You can assign multiple Security Roles to one user, in which case the highest CAL type required covers all the user rights.
  • You have the flexibility to configure or customize Security Roles. This may impact the license required for the new/modified Security Roles. Please refer to the Appendix I for more information about how such customization can impact licensing requirements.


Using Security Roles as a proxy to count CALs provides a much more convenient and manageable process than trying to determine the required CAL for every individual in the organization. This approach involves identifying groups of users who will be satisfied by Security Roles that require lower level CALs and groups of users who will access the solution functionality through a licensed device, and then licensing all remaining users with the Enterprise CAL.

The following provides a step-by-step overview of this approach:

  • Determine the total number of users.
  • Determine groups of users who require only the Self-Serve CAL (for example, maintenance employees).
  • Subtract from this user who will access the functionality using a licensed device.
  • The result is the number of required Self-Serve User CALs.
  • Count the number of devices that will be licensed with a Self-Serve Device CAL for the users counted in step #3.
  • Add the number of User CALs and Device CALs to get the total number of required Self-Serve CALs.
  • Repeat for Task, Functional, and Enterprise CALs.
%d bloggers like this: