There’s a lot of flap and confusion over the changes to Exchange 2007 and Outlook 2007 licensing. Although I am not a Microsoft Licensing specialist, let me attempt to condense together all of the information floating around various sources and see if we can’t distill out some sort of understanding. There are three types of licenses that concern us here: the Exchange server license for the actual server software, the Exchange 2007 Client Access License (CAL), and the Oulook 2007 license:
- The Exchange 2007 server software license comes in two flavors, explained in How to Buy Exchange Server 2007:
- The Standard Edition server license gives you a maximum of five (5) databases and storage groups. You can use LCR, but not SCC or CCR.
- The Enterprise Edition server license gives you a maximum of fifty (50) databases and storage groups. You can use LCR, SCC, and CCR.
- The Exchange 2007 CAL also comes in two flavors, which are completely independent of the license flavor you bought for the server software license. The two CAL flavors (plus a CAL bundle that contains both flavors) control what Exchange 2007 features your users have access to. See Exchange Server 2007 Editions and Client Access Licenses for more details:
- The Standard CAL gives the user permission to access the by-now standard features of Exchange: email, shared calendars, OWA, EAS, contacts, tasks, and management actions. If your user is in any way accessing their mailbox, as I understand it, they have to have a Standard CAL. You can perform per-database Message Journalling.
- The Enterprise CAL is required if the user is going to access Unified Messaging, per-user/per-DL Message Journalling, and Managed E-mail Folders. Also, if you’re on a volume license program such as Software Assurance, you can use this CAL for Exchange Hosted filtering and Forefront Security for Exchange Server.
- The Standard + Enterprise CAL bundles both together. Note that you can’t buy the Enterprise CAL without the Standard CAL, so this is in reality what you’re going to buy if you need the Enterprise CAL features.
- The Outlook 2007 license is generating a lot of heat and light out on the net. Historically, Exchange CALs have included an Outlook license with them, allowing organizations to roll out Exchange and Outlook paired together, without having to coordinate a full Office deployment at the same time. This has generally been viewed as a good thing, because there have always been a few spiff features that work best (or only work) when you’re using paired versions of Exchange and Outlook. This changes with Exchange 2007; the CAL no longer includes an Outlook license, yet the Standard CAL costs the same as the Exchange 2003 CAL does. While this at first seems like it’s a bad thing, that may not be the case, and here’s what I’ve been able to glean about it:
- In Microsoft’s experience, the vast majority of Exchange shops ended up deploying Office at some point. Thus, the vast majority of their customers ended up paying for Outlook twice (effectively). Ed: I think people have a hard time swallowing this one, because it’s not like the Standard CAL has dropped in price any to reflect this implicit cost savings. However, I really doubt Microsoft is flat-out lying about this as some people think. If they want to justify a price increase, they’ve got lots of good reasons to do so. I don’t understand their math at this time, but that doesn’t meant it isn’t valid. Anyone from Microsoft care to illuminate this?
- You can still use Outlook 2003 in all its glory against Exchange 2007, and you’ll even get the benefit of some (but nowhere near all) of the new features present. You won’t lose any functionality. Outlook 2007, on the other hand, is much more tightly coupled with the rest of the Office suite than previous versions of Outlook, enough so that Microsoft feels you will see significant value in deploying Office 2007 all at once. Ed: After hearing about a large number of shops that have are still running Office 2000 with the addition of Outlook 2003 (to get cached mode against Exchange 2003), I suspect that there’s a noteworthy faction of folks forming Microsoft’s business strategy that hopes the new can’t-miss functionality in Outlook 2007 will be the impetus for a lot of Office suite upgrades.
- You can now get Volume License deals for as few as five licenses. Volume licensing and SA can be a major way to cut down on the cost of rolling out Office and other Microsoft software, and once people are willing to take a closer look at SA to get their Outlook fix, they may in fact find that SA will be a good fit for them overall. See the Exchange Server Product Use Rights page for more info. Ed: I have no comment on this one, other than to note that Microsoft has not been shy in its desire to push SA. On the other hand, customers have not been shy about being unimpressed with a “get your updates included” licensing model that is coupled with server software offerings that always seem to update just past the 3-year SA term.
- From what I hear on the net, large and enterprise businesses think this is a good move, while small and medium businesses don’t. In particular, the Small Business Server community seems to be particularly upset. So is Microsoft betting that this license restructuring will bring in enough new large/enterprise customers to generate enough revenue to offset small/medium defections, are they betting that the small/medium customers won’t defect in enough numbers to warrant concern, or is there some other factor at play here?
You might also want to check out the Exchange Server 2007 Licensing FAQ for other answers to specific questions.
Disclaimer: I do not work for Microsoft and have no training in the specifics of the Exchange and Outlook licensing. This information is meant as my best guess at unifying the licensing information and providing some rationale for the license breakdowns, not as a definitive answer. You must check this information with your Microsoft sales representative. Having said that, if anyone has any real-world experience that confirms or debunks this in part or in whole, I’d definitely like to hear about it so I can update the information.