SharePoint 2010 is more powerful and easier to use than ever before, but how do you license SharePoint 2010? SharePoint can be hosted on premise (meaning you can host it yourself), hosted in a managed environment (like a Rackspace or FPWeb), or hosted directly with Microsoft with SharePoint Online. Regardless of where or how you choose to host your SharePoint environment, the licensing and product information is consistent. Details regarding SharePoint 2010 prerequisites and SharePoint 2010 system requirements are crystal clear. SharePoint 2010 is 64-bit only, requires 64-bit Windows 2008 Server, and requires a few other components before installation can begin. Unlike prerequisites and installation details, SharePoint 2010 licensing is still a mystery for many people. In this first post, I’ll breakdown different licensing and product questions to help clarify SharePoint 2010 licensing.
Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010. SharePoint Designer 2010 (SPD) is a client tool (similar to Dreamweaver, Homesite, etc.) that is specifically designed to manage SharePoint 2010 sites. SPD is used to manage lists, libraries, workflow, CSS files, Master Pages, Page Layouts, External Content Types, External Data Sources, and much more. SPD is free and can be downloaded directly from Microsoft. Download either SharePoint Designer 2010 32-bit or SharePoint Designer 2010 64-bit.
Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010. SharePoint Foundation 2010 is the next logical version of what used to be called Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). Had Microsoft continued with the previous naming convention, then this product would have presumably been called WSS 4.0. SharePoint Foundation 2010 is a free addition for Windows 2008 Server. This is an important note: SharePoint Foundation 2010 is free. Windows 2008 Server is not free. You must have appropriate licensing for Windows 2008 Server to run SharePoint Foundation 2010. That said, you can utilize Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 to run many different types of sites: internal sites, external sites, departmental sites, and even public facing anonymous sites. To be perfectly clear – you can run an anonymous site on SharePoint Foundation 2010 – you just need to have the appropriate Windows 2008 Server licenses. Access the SharePoint Foundation 2010 download directly at Microsoft.com.
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. As with Foundation, Microsoft changed the name of this product as well. The previous version was called Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The latest version is called Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Notice the omission of the word “Office” from the SharePoint product title. From what I gather, dropping the word “Office” was to try and help clarify that Office is not a requirement to run SharePoint. While SharePoint works spectacularly with Office, there are hundreds of solution types that can be deployed with SharePoint without any type of Office client deployed.
There are two distinct license models for SharePoint Server 2010, one for internal deployments and one for external SharePoint deployments. Internal and external deployments are not defined by how the systems are accessed, but rather by “who” accesses the SharePoint environments. If the SharePoint farm is being accessed by organization staff only, then we will define that as internal use. These internal SharePoint environments require a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 server license with the appropriate SharePoint 2010 Client Access Licenses (CAL). If the SharePoint farm is being accessed by “non-staff”, including anonymous users such as a public facing website, then we will define that SharePoint environment as external. External SharePoint deployments require the SharePoint 2010 for Internet Sites licensing. Both of these license models offer a Standard edition and an Enterprise edition.
For a very good comparison of what comes in SharePoint Foundation 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 Standard, and SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise, see Microsoft’s own Compare SharePoint Versions page and SharePoint Licensing Details page.
First, the “internal” license model. SharePoint Server 2010 is licensed in a traditional client/server model. The SharePoint Server 2010 server license is required for every server in the SharePoint farm. If you have a single server farm or a multi-server farm, each server (physical or virtual) must have the SharePoint Server 2010 server license. The client consists of the SharePoint 2010 CAL. You can purchase either user or device SharePoint 2010 CALs. User CALs are the most common, as it authenticates each named user from any device they choose to use (mobile, laptop, desktop, etc.). I see the device CAL more commonly at locations with fixed workstations, such as libraries, school labs, and hospitals. The device CAL allows any number of users to authenticate, but only from the licensed devices.
There are two SharePoint Server 2010 CALs – Standard and Enterprise. The SharePoint Server 2010 CALs are additive. This means that in order to get the Enterprise features, you must purchase both the Standard CAL and the Enterprise CAL. In an organization where you have users that will access Standard features and a subset of users that will utilize the Enterprise CAL, you can purchase only the Enterprise CALs for those specific users. It is up to you to police the environment to ensure that Enterprise features are not being accessed by Standard licensed users. SharePoint 2010 does provide usage tracking so you can see who is using which areas and features of the site(s).
Then there is the “external” license model which consists of both Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites Standard and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites Enterprise. As described above, these 2 licenses are for “non-staff” sites, such as public facing, external, anonymous sites. For the most part, the Standard and Enterprise licensing models for Internet follow the same functionality rules as the internal client/server CAL model – with the addition that Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites Standard will only support a single top level domain and related subdomains (such as StoverEffect.com, MySites.StoverEffect.com, Blog.StoverEffect.com, etc.).
Here are some other notes regarding SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites. No CALs are required for users licensed through SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites. The Internet Sites licensing model is for external users only. Internal users can use this license only if all content, information, and applications are also accessible to external users. If the server has items that are for internal use only, those users require CALs, and their servers require licenses for SharePoint Server 2010. This means that you can mix licensing models on the same instance of SharePoint – but you have to purchase both sets of licenses. An important point us that the people who create content for external access can use SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites. Server and CAL licensing is not required for people who use SharePoint only to author information – it is specifically only required if you create a site, subsite, application, or information that is FOR internal use. One final note: SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise, also includes the rights to FAST Search Server for use in Internet or Extranet scenarios.
To complete the product download links, you can download trial versions of all of these versions of Microsoft SharePoint:
SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise Trial
SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard Trial
Microsoft SharePoint Server Standard 2010 Trial
Microsoft SharePoint Server Enterprise 2010 Trial
Even easier, you can download a fully configured evaluation Virtual Machine called the 2010 Information Worker Demonstration and Evaluation Virtual Machine (RTM).
That’s it for now. I’ll continue this series on SharePoint 2010 products and licensing soon to include scenarios, FAQs, and other products (such as FAST, Office Web Applications, Project Server, etc.). Please feel free to ask questions as I’ll help in any way that I can. However, I do not work for Microsoft. I am not a software reseller. I highly recommend that you discuss all of your licensing needs with a Micorosft Licensing Specialist or your software reseller/vendor, but keep these posts handy because I have found that most resellers are quite unclear about actual licensing details and will usually err on the side of selling you more software than necessary.