ASP.NET web application makes requests to SharePoint search REST API using its application pool identity which can be either (for this scenario):

  1. Service account domain\serviceAccount
  2. Machine account domain\computer$

First dilemma

Is there any difference in between the 2 options above in terms of licensing? Do these accounts need SharePoint CALs in a user based licensing scenario or they don't?

Second dilemma

The web application has potentially a large number of users which would view the information retrieved by the app pool account. Do these users also need SharePoint CALs? How would an user metering solution be implemented in this case?

From SharePoint server's perspective, there would be just one account sending the requests.

  • It is a common and suggested practice to put a serviceAccount as application pool identity. However we count the number of users that will access to any SharePoint data (regardless he is searching or uploading or downloading). Application pool identity doesn't matter.
    – Mark L
    Nov 9, 2016 at 3:16

1 Answer 1


All users who access data residing on SharePoint require SharePoint CALs, whether they access that data directly through SharePoint or through a 3rd party application.

  • Thanks for the answer. So if the data is cached in some other non-SharePoint system, it means that they don't need CALs? Can you detail what access through a 3rd party application means? And how would such user metering be implemented in real life? Nov 8, 2016 at 23:07
  • 1
    SharePoint doesn't do any sort of license metering. It is based on the honor system (until you get audited). You should contact Microsoft Licensing about cached data, but given that data originally resides in SharePoint, I'd have to make the assumption you would still need to license those users.
    – user6024
    Nov 8, 2016 at 23:11

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