SharePoint Licensing - The Toughest Licensing of the UC Products

In this post, I began talking about licensing of the various Unified Communications (UC) products, starting with Exchange Server. I followed that with this post discussing licensing for the next of the UC products - Office Communication Server.

As part of that second post, I promised that if people wanted to know about Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) licensing, I'd write that up before closing out the series. I wish my fingers had never typed that sentence! :-) After I did the research, that article has proven fairly difficult to assemble and write.

SharePoint is a full product suite. Licensing for SharePoint is even more convoluted than your normal Microsoft licensing mumbo-jumbo. Regardless, let's dive right in.

Remember: I am not a lawyer. Nor am I a Microsoft Licensing expert. The information in this post comes from various publicly available Microsoft websites as of the date I authored the post. For further information contact Microsoft Licensing at

SharePoint comes in five editions, one of which isn't labeled as part of the SharePoint Suite, although it is. Those editions and their estimated retail price (in US dollars) are:

SharePoint Edition Cost
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 "free"
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 $4,424
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search Standard $8,213
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search Enterprise $57,670
Microsoft Forms Server 2007 $4,424

There are also a number of Client Access Licenses (CALs) that may be needed by a company in order to use these products. The CALs associated with the SharePoint Suite are:

Client Access License Cost
Windows Server CAL $27
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 CAL, Standard Edition $94
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 CAL, Enterprise Edition $75
Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 CAL $54
Office SharePoint Designer 2007 $187

Please note that items I have not included above include Windows Server licenses, SQL Server licenses, and SQL Server CALs; all of which would be part of any MOSS deployment.

did choose to include a Windows Server CAL in the above list to press home the point that all SharePoint users are authenticated Active Directory users and thus require a Windows Server CAL (the only exception is when you purchase a Internet Connector license - but we will not cover those in this article).

Also note that while Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) is no additional cost, it does require that you have valid licenses for Windows Server 2003 and each WSS user does require a Windows Server CAL.

Microsoft has designed the SharePoint suite around eight key pillars of functionality. They are:

  • Collaboration
  • Portal
  • Search
  • Content Management and Workflow
  • Business Processes and Forms
  • Business Intelligence
  • SharePoint Management
  • SharePoint Platform Capabilities

WSS is the "little brother" of the SharePoint family. It includes the basic SharePoint Management tools and all of the Collaboration capability available in the other more feature-rich products. In every other way, it falls short. For Search, only site search is available. For Portal capabilities, only Microsoft Office integration is present. For Content Management, only a document information panel is available. The list goes on.

Having said that, WSS is the base of all the other products in the suite. All of the MOSS capabilities have WSS at the bottom. From little acorns do mighty oak trees grow... Given WSS and the Office SharePoint Designer 2007 product (plus Visual Studio 2005, I'm sure!), you could eventually grow your own version of MOSS. I suspect the build-vs-buy equation is pretty easy to calculate though!

The "step up" from WSS is to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. With a few notable exceptions discussed below, it includes the full capabilities of the SharePoint suite, dependent on licensing. To use MOSS requires that you purchase the server license plus the Standard CAL. A Standard CAL is required for each user, of course.

If you want more features, then you purchase the Enterprise CAL. As we've seen in the other UC products, the Enterprise CAL is additive - that is, it adds features on top of the Standard CAL, but each user requiring the Enterprise feature set must have both the Standard CAL AND the Enterprise CAL.

The Enterprise CAL adds rights for you to use Line of Business data integration capabilities, Business Intelligence capabilities, which include the performance management dashboard and web-based spreadsheets, and electronic forms. And, if you've purchased one of the search capable server products, the search capability.

The electronic forms piece of the Enterprise CAL is significant. The Enterprise CAL includes a Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 CAL. However, if you just want the MOFS capability without the rest of the Enterprise capabilities, you can purchase the MOFS licenses separately. Do note that using MOFS (or the forms capabilities with the Enterprise CAL) requires that your Microsoft Office clients have Infopath capabilities (which is an entirely other kettle of fish).

The final additional capability we haven't discussed is Search. The two final MOSS editions add integrated Enterprise Search capabilities into the MOSS product suite. This means that the MOSS engine has the capability of scanning local and remote locations and indexing documents, databases, images, media, etc. in those locations and making that index available for searching. The Search Standard MOSS edition only supports 500,000 items. The Search Enterprise MOSS edition supports an "infinite" number of indexed items.

Without one of the Search Editions, all of the other SharePoint editions will only provide "site search" - that is, searching the items that are part of the various SharePoint sites.

That concludes this SharePoint article. I think we'll have two more licensing articles before we conclude this series: one on Internet connector/Processor licenses, and then one showing a couple of fully priced out solutions.

If you ever have articles that you would like to see written, please leave me a message on the blog, or send me an e-mail directly to michael at TheEssentialExchange dot com.

References for today's article:
How to Buy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Editions
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 products comparison
How to Buy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 ad Related Technologies Pricing

Published Wednesday, January 30, 2008 12:20 PM by michael


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