TFS Users No Longer Need CAL for Viewing Reporting Data

Effective for Team Foundation Server 2010 users and assumingly going forward for Team Foundation Server 11, users who view read-only data for reporting purposes no longer need a TFS Client Access License (CAL).  More information about the announcement from Brian Harry is available here:

The definition of “reporting data” is not defined completely but the spirit of the licensing change is to address a challenge the Microsoft MVPs and other customer channels have brought up:  occasional stakeholders who are looking at reporting data should not be required to be licensed fully with a TFS CAL as other team members who contribute regularly to a software release.  They traditionally want to view progress or see potential issues.

Reporting data is exposed in several different places in Team Foundation Server:

  • Excel Workbooks
  • SQL Reporting Services Reports
  • Rich Dashboards with SharePoint Team Portals (using SharePoint 2010 Enterprise)
  • Custom Applications Displaying Read-Only Reporting Data
  • Other Self-Service Business Intelligence Tools

You may need other types of CALs depending on the particular scenario but thankfully you won’t need a TFS CAL.  Also, if these users are “writing” or “updating” information back to TFS, then that wouldn’t be considered viewing reporting data.  You’ll likely need a TFS CAL for those scenarios.  Remember though that users have always been able to create new bugs & feature requests without needing a TFS 2010 CAL as well using Work Item Only View.  This is a great improvement with this new addition to the CAL exclusions for TFS.

This licensing change is retroactive and in addition to the announcement that the Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere client for Eclipse-based IDEs is now free!

Ed Blankenship

Friday, 07 December 2012 09:55:49 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Hi! If users can use excel for reporting purposes and can use WIOV to enter bugs, does that mean that they can also use excel to enter bugs or must they only use WIOV to enter bugs?

Marc-Andre Poitras
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 07:36:51 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
Does this mean non developers, without a CAL can view (ready only) shared documents via the Project Portal (WSS)???
Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:31:55 (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)
@Daryl, the change only mentioned "reports" so as long as it is a "report" then this licensing change applies here.
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