Networking

Understand Exchange 2010 licensing options

Scott Lowe helps you make sense of Exchange Server 2010's numerous licensing options. He also provides a description of the external connector license.

Microsoft isn't known for making its licensing easy to understand; in fact, many of the company's products have numerous licensing options that are often confusing. Exchange Server 2010 licensing options don't vary from this pattern. Here are the server-side and client-side licensing options that are available for the product. I'll also provide a description of the external connector.

Server-side licensing

If you're going to use on-premises Exchange, you need a server, as well as Exchange licenses for each server (physical or virtual) on which you install the Exchange software.

For quite some time, Microsoft has offered server licensing in two editions -- Standard and Enterprise -- and there used to be significant differences between the editions, but that's changed a lot with Exchange 2010; now, it's all about scale.

  • Exchange 2010 Standard edition. Supports up to a total of 5 mailbox databases per server.
  • Exchange 2010 Enterprise edition. Supports up to a total of 100 mailbox databases per server.

In previous versions of Exchange, you didn't have the full range of availability options in the Standard edition that were available in the Enterprise edition. With Exchange 2010, both editions fully support Database Availability Groups as long as you're running Exchange on the Enterprise edition of Windows Server.

Client-side licensing

Client licensing comes in Standard and Enterprise editions, but there's a catch: You can't buy just an Enterprise client access license (CAL); if you want an enterprise feature such as unified messaging, you must first buy a Standard CAL to unlock the basic functionality, and then you add on the Enterprise CAL to add the advanced features. Microsoft calls this "additive licensing." So, in essence, you buy two CALs for each user who needs enterprise-level features. It might sound unnecessary, but it's kind of nice because you can mix-and-match the licenses to suit your needs. For example, if you only have several users who need functionality provided by the Enterprise CAL (such as Unified Messaging), you just need to buy Enterprise CALs for those users. For all other users, you can stick with the Standard option and save a few bucks.

Microsoft also makes a Services add-on available that provides some additional Exchange security options.

Top of Form

Feature

Bottom of Form

Standard CAL Std. + Ent. CAL (both licenses) Std. + Ent. CAL plus Services
Email Yes Yes Yes
Calendar Yes Yes Yes
Contacts Yes Yes Yes
Tasks Yes Yes Yes
Outlook Web App (cross browser) Yes Yes Yes
ActiveSync Mobile Access Yes Yes Yes
Role Based Admin. Control Yes Yes Yes
Integration of IM, SMS, and RSS Yes Yes Yes
Federated Calendar Sharing Yes Yes Yes
ActiveSync Mobile Policies Standard Advanced Advanced
Journaling Per Database Per User / Distribution List Per User / Distribution List
Voicemail with Unified Messaging No Yes Yes
Retention Policies Default Custom Custom
Integrated Archive No Yes w/Office 2010 Pro Plus Yes w/Office 2010 Pro Plus
Multi-Mailbox Search No Yes Yes
Legal Hold No Yes Yes
Information Protection & Control No Yes Yes
Top of Form

Forefront Security for Exchange

Bottom of Form

No No Yes
Forefront Online Security for Exchange No No Yes

Bottom of Form

It's important to understand that basic email functionality is not allowed with just the Enterprise CAL. If you want email, calendaring, and other typical Exchange functionality, you need to buy the Standard CAL. If you want advanced features, such as Unified Messaging, you need to buy two CALs.

Client CALs can be licensed per user or per device. If any of your users share machines (e.g., shift workers), you can save money with per-device CALs. If you have users who need to access Exchange from multiple devices, you should go with per-user CALs.

Note: A Standard or Enterprise CAL can be used with either server edition -- Standard or Enterprise. You don't need to match editions.

External connector

If you have external users (e.g., business partners, suppliers, customers, retirees, and alumni) who need to access your Exchange server, the external connector license grants access to the Exchange server by an unlimited number of these external users.

Summary

Exchange 2010 has a number of licensing options. This article is intended to help you get your bearings with regard to these options. For specific questions, please contact your Microsoft licensing reseller.

Keep up with Scott Lowe's posts on TechRepublic

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

12 comments
daveschartel
daveschartel

I think we forgot to mention the database size restrictions for exchange. This is critical when you are thinking about imposing an email retention or archiving policy.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Two CALs per device??? That's gouging!?

mott0697
mott0697

I AM RECIVING A POP UP STATING YOUR VERSION OF WINDOWS IS NOT GENUINE. I HAVE TRYED EVERTHING LESS RE-INSTALLING WINDOWS 7 TOM

gechurch
gechurch

You need to remember this is licensing that covers companies to 5 users to 500,000. This really does sound quite simple. And the two CALs isn't gouging at all; quite the opposite. You can buy standard CALs across the board, and only add Enterprise CALs for peopole who actually need it. Many other products (and earlier versions of Exchange) limit the feature set based on the server license you buy. In that scenario you have to buy the more expensive server license even if the features it enables won't be used by 95% of your staff.

Vegaskid
Vegaskid

Having worked with Microsoft products for almost 20 years, I've seen their licencing models get more an more convoluted over the years. In comparison, Exchange 2010 licencing is a breeze. I just wish they'd streamline it across their product range.

viProCon
viProCon

You'll have to forgive me for forgetting the name, but a few months ago as I was reading Microsoft's licensing site (by the way why can't MS hire people like Scott to write their explanations?), I thought I'd seen some kind of "master CAL" or something. Maybe it was for Server 2008 R2 I can't remember off hand. One question though: If you have Exchange 2010 Standard, how is it you can use an Enterprise CAL with it? Does the Ent. CAL act as just an Std. CAL in that case? I haven't seen pricing on these two CAL types but I imagine if they are priced the same then you can interchange them freely if you have Exchange Standard, though if one is cheaper than the other (either normally or via promotion) then why not just get cheaper ones? (has Microsoft EVER put CALs on promotion? Buy one get one free? :) )

viProCon
viProCon

You're in the wrong comment list to be posting this but here's a common ffix for your issue: Go to Control Panel, then open System. On the bottom of the page that comes up, there should be a button or link that lets you "Change your Product Key". If you see this, click it and re-enter your product key again. This is a problem I've seen in Vista and Win 1 or two times. If that fails or you don't see a a way to change the product key then go to Google and type in "Change Windows 7 product key" and see where that leads you.

IT_Juggler
IT_Juggler

Buy a legitimate copy of Windows and all your troubles are over.

dlovep
dlovep

You just always buy one extra, so that nothing will happen. The problem is how exactly we need to buy? Having using Microsoft products for almost 23 years, I've seen their pricing models get more an more money from your pocket. Later on, we might get charge by each single functions. Windows SFOS (single/seperate function OS), where you can fully customised what functions you want for your OS before you buy the OS. If you dont want to read email, no drop-down menu, no visual effects, no fancy stuffs, you might buy the starter edition, it's a starter edition so it give you a black screen with a C:\>

gechurch
gechurch

From my reading of the article, it's because standard and enterprise licenses on the server do not "match up" with standard and enterprise CALs. The only difference now between standard and enterprise on the server is the number of mailboxes; the feature set is now identical. On the client side, a standard CAL gets you access to your mail, calendar etc (regardless of whether the server is running standard or enterprise). Purchasing an enterprise CAL lets that user access advanced features (such as unified messaging). This CAL grants these advanced features regardless of whether standard or enterprise is used on the server (they both allow all these advanced features). Put simply; the server license determines how many mailboxes you can have, the CAL determines which features that user/device has access to. Calling both the server and client sides Standard and Enterprise is poor form, given they don't relate. They should have called the CALs Standard and Advanced (or something similar).

dlovep
dlovep

Buy the legal one or you can EX-CHANGE your os to free Linux~~

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