SharePoint 2007 Licensing Part I: Products

Licensing is a huge topic.  So huge, in fact, that Microsoft has licensing specialists.  VARs have licensing specialists.  Consulting companies have licensing specialists. 

In Part I of this multi-post blog entry, I will describe the SharePoint products that are available.  I am not listing prices with these products for several reasons, the most obvious one being that prices change (as did the Charity pricing a couple of weeks ago).

While the information provided by Microsoft on the How to buy Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is absolutely crystal clear, there is still quite a bit of confusion on what licenses are required to run MOSS in any type of production role.  In an attempt to demystify some of the confusion, I’ve put some general information regarding licensing here.  Note that below a CAL refers to a Client Access License, which can be licensed in either ‘Per User’ or ‘Per Device’.  Also, the CAL licensing model may be mixed, meaning that you purchase some ‘Per User’ and some ‘Per Device’ as your needs require.  To truly appreciate the CAL licensing model, please visit the Microsoft CAL Guide.  Of course, there is also the availability of the Microsoft CAL Suite to provide an ‘all-for-one’ price for multiple CALs and, maybe even more importantly, provides a very easy mechanism for tracking the CALs through a single license agreement.  Additionally, the following is strictly for informational purposes only.  Also not that there is a significant variance in pricing depending upon the volume of licenses purchases, but even more so based upon Educational, Government, and Charity pricing (just to name a few factors).  For accurate pricing and configuration information, please contact a Microsoft Product Licensing Advisor or a reseller (such as Dell).  Some of the pricing info below comes from the following locations:

All of that being said, there are no less than ten (10) different products created by Microsoft associated with SharePoint.  There are hundreds of products created by other vendors, but for the purpose of this entry I am focusing on the products created by Microsoft.  Here are the products that I am currently aware of with a small description of each.  For more information on the actual product, you can visit or the Mossasaurus.

  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS 3).  WSS is a component of Windows Server.  This is currently an available download for Windows Server 2003 but will be bundled with the next version of Windows Server 2008 (LongHorn).  WSS is the technology on which MOSS builds.  WSS does not require its own licensing, but rather follows the licensing of Windows Server.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Server License (MOSS).  This license is required to run Office SharePoint Server 2007 in client/server mode. You should use this license with the requisite number of Client Access Licenses (CALs) appropriate for your organizational needs.  This is a per server license that does not require the purchase of Client Access licenses.  This product is the server license for using MOSS as an Intranet (employee-facing) site.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet sites (MOSSFIS).  This license has all the features of the Enterprise Edition of Office SharePoint Server. For complete information about the different features in each edition, read the Office SharePoint Server edition comparison.  To quote the Microsoft licensing text, "You may use the software only for Internet-facing websites". All content, information, and applications must be accessible to non-employees.   What this means is that if you intend to run MOSS for both your public facing site and your internal use, this license does not cover both uses.  While I’ll be covering specific licensing scenarios as Part II of the SharePoint Licensing Update series, it is important to note that you must purchase a MOSS Server license (above) and the requisite CALs for employee use. 
  • Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 Server License.  Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 is a server product built on WSS 3.0 that enables users to fill out Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 forms by using a Web browser instead of, or in addition to, the Office InfoPath 2007 client program.  This is a subset of the functionality that is offered in the full MOSS product, but is available to those organizations seeking this specific functionality and not the full MOSS product (though I cannot imagine why you wouldn’t want all of the functionality).
  • Microsoft Office Forms Server for Internet Sites.  Same product as above, but for Internet-facing websites. All content, information, and applications must be accessible to non-employees.   Same rule as MOSS: if you are putting up a Forms Server for both public Internet access and for employee use, you must buy both types of server licenses and the appropriate number of CALs. 
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 CAL, Standard Edition.  A CAL is required for all employees.  As part of this CAL, you get the core capabilities of MOSS.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 CAL, Enterprise Edition. This CAL is an additional (additive) license that requires the Standard Edition CAL above.  To reiterate this again: this license is an additive license on top of the Standard license.  You must acquire both CALs in order to utilize the Enterprise features, such as LOB integration and search, forms services, Excel services, etc.
  • Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 CAL. This is the CAL that is required to work with Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search, Standard Edition Server License.  This product is also a subset of the full MOSS functionality and is strictly the search engine.  Microsoft has put a significant amount of effort, time, and money into developing the new search engine that MOSS uses.  The search works extremely well, and thus Microsoft is licensing the search engine as a standalone product.  This product will seamlessly integrate with Windows Desktop Search, provide appropriate Security Trimming so that users can only access what they have rights to see, search Exchange Public Folders, Lotus Notes, UNC network shares, other websites, and much more.  This Standard Edition of the search-only product is limited to 500,000 items.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search, Enterprise Edition Server License.  This license provides the same functionality as the above server but does not have any limit to the number of indexed items.
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 (SPD).  While this may look like FrontPage, it is definitely not FrontPage… :)  This product is licensed on a per user basis and is a client installable package that runs on the individual user desktop (very much like Microsoft Word or Excel).

This post is a rewrite of some content that I developed shortly after the product was originally released.

By John Stover

John Stover Bio.

1 comment

  1. I am a frequent reader of your blog posts. I liked the recent one and other posts on your blog so much that I have subscribed to the blog’s RSS feed. Even thinking of stealing some ideas and put them to work. Keep all the good work going by posting more informative posts. Thank you. Time well spent on this post.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *