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Microsoft Office licensing for Exchange and SharePoint servers

The reach of Office 2007 licensing issues extends beyond Microsoft's desktop apps to Exchange and SharePoint. Find out how changes to licensing terms will affect your customers' costs and choices.

Service provider takeaway: Service providers need to know how Microsoft Office 2007 licensing changes affect not only the desktop productivity suite but also related servers.

A while back, I wrote a tip on Microsoft Office 2007 licensing, covering the desktop suite and its various availability options. But with Office 2007, it's not just a desktop story: There's a lot of integration with server-side products like Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint, and of course, there are things to learn about licensing these products for use at your customer sites. In this tip, I'll profile the most important things to remember about Microsoft Office licensing for these oft-used productivity products.

Exchange and Outlook licensing

Outlook and messaging in general are part of users' everyday experiences; for Microsoft Office shops, they've become necessities. If you have customers considering moving to Exchange Server 2007, there are some changes to client licensing -- including for Outlook -- that you should be aware of.

For instance, with the Exchange Standard Client Access License, or CAL (which costs about $70, or less, depending on the number of licenses you purchase), your customers don't have permission to use Outlook 2007, as they did with prior versions of Microsoft Office and Exchange Standard CAL. They'll need to purchase it separately or acquire it as part of an Office 2007 license, whether that's via a retail box purchase or through a Select License agreement. However, if your customers were covered by a Software Assurance agreement for Exchange Server 2003 before Nov. 30, 2006, they can move to Outlook 2007 as part of those upgrade rights.

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If your customers have Software Assurance on Exchange Server 2003, they get an Exchange Standard CAL automatically for Exchange 2007. This Standard CAL, however, does not include spam and virus filtering capabilities; to get that, they'll need an Enterprise CAL.

It's also worth noting that your customers can purchase Exchange Enterprise CALs only for users who need the additional functionality afforded by those licenses (namely, unified messaging, compliance and journaling), and purchase Exchange Standard CALs for all other Exchange users in the organization.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server licensing

SharePoint is now under the official "Office System" umbrella and known as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, or MOSS. Your customers may be asking about the most efficient (read: cheapest) way to get this technology into their environments. MOSS carries with it some licensing issues that are different from those of some other Microsoft server products. Keep in mind the following points when spec'ing out licenses for your MOSS customers.

There is a MOSS license for Internet sites that let you host information and forms for external users, and a MOSS license for portals and intranets that run only on an internal network (this type requires one of the two types of CALs we'll discuss momentarily). Be sure to choose the correct type of license depending on what your customer's MOSS machine is hosting.

Your customers can license Office SharePoint Server in two ways, per-device and per-user. With a Device CAL, they purchase the CAL for every device that accesses their server, no matter how many users each device has. With the User CAL, your customers purchase a device for every user who accesses the server, with no subsequent limitation on the number of devices that access it. Using User CALs might make more sense if your customers' employees access SharePoint from multiple machines. Device CALs may make more sense if your customers have multiple-shift workers who share a fixed number of devices.
Unlike with Exchange 2007, if some users need the additional features provided by the Enterprise CAL, all users must have Enterprise CALs -- it's an all-or-nothing affair.

Finally, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is licensed to a running instance, not to a machine, so your customers can host MOSS within virtual machines as long as the number of copies of MOSS that are virtualized and running at any one time do not exceed the number of licenses they have.

About the author
Jonathan Hassell is an author, consultant and speaker residing in Charlotte, N.C. Jonathan's books include
RADIUS, Learning Windows Server 2003, Hardening Windows and most recently Windows Vista: Beyond the Manual.

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