Licensing SharePoint

Figuring out which features go with which product is challenging. In this section, I explain the official products in the SharePoint family and what it takes to license them. Pricing varies depending on the kind of licensing agreement you have with Microsoft.

All SharePoint deployments require Windows Server 2003. WSS version 3 is part of Windows Server 2003, so you don’t have to buy separate licenses for WSS. You can download WSS from the Microsoft Web site.

MOSS 2007 products are available for purchase only through volume licensing agreements; you can’t buy them via retail channels. Microsoft offers several types of volume licensing agreements.

The pricing associated with each agreement varies depending on the number of desktops in your organization, the benefits you receive, and whether you pay up-front or a certain amount each year. See the Microsoft Products Licensing Advisor for assistance with choosing a licensing agreement.

Properly licensing MOSS 2007 requires a combination of server licenses and Client Access Licenses (CALs). A server license allows you to run the software, such as MOSS 2007, on your server. Clients need a CAL to access the server’s features. Two types of CALs are used for MOSS 2007:

  • Base CAL allows clients to access the portal, personalization, search, and enterprise content management features of MOSS 2007.
  • Enterprise CAL allows clients to access the business intelligence and business process integration features of MOSS 2007 (such as the Report Center, Business Data Catalog, Excel Services, and InfoPath Forms Services).

If you want users to access the features provided by the Enterprise CAL, you must also purchase a Base CAL. You need to provide an Enterprise CAL to only those clients who need to access the advanced services.

Several additional SharePoint products go beyond MOSS 2007:

  • MOSS 2007 for Search Standard Edition: This server license offers small- to medium-sized businesses all the features of Office SharePoint Server Search. The number of indexed documents is limited to 500,000.
  • MOSS 2007 for Search Enterprise Edition: This server has no limit to the number of documents that can be indexed with this edition.
  • MOSS 2007 for Internet Sites: This server license entitles you to use MOSS 2007 for Internet-facing Web sites that are accessed by non-employees. No separate CALs are required.

In addition to Windows Server 2003, you may need to implement the following:

  • Microsoft SQL Server: All SharePoint content is stored in a back-end database. WSS installs with an internal database; however, you likely want to use SQL Server 2000 with service pack 4 or higher or SQL Server 2005 with service pack 1 or higher.
  • Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server: To ensure that remote users are accessing SharePoint in the most secure fashion, implement ISA Server or a similar product. ISA Server has automatic configuration tools for protecting SharePoint.
  • Microsoft ForeFront Security for SharePoint: ForeFront protects your SharePoint server from malware, viruses, and enables compliance with content policies, such as prohibiting the use of profanity in documents saved to document libraries. If you choose not to use ForeFront, you need some kind of anti-virus solution.
  • Microsoft Exchange Server: Microsoft’s premiere e-mail and collaboration platform integrates with SharePoint search. Although Exchange and SharePoint play nicely together, you can use any e-mail server to send e-mail to SharePoint.
  • Office Live Communications Server: Enables presence information that lets users know who’s online and instant messaging in SharePoint with Communications Server.
  • Office 2007 Groove Server: Access SharePoint resources during real-time collaboration sessions with Groove Server.

Obviously, Microsoft wants you to run out and upgrade all your desktops to Office 2007. And while you’re at it, you might as well install Vista, too.

The truth of the matter is that, although your users will certainly have the best experience with Office 2007, you can work just fine with Office 2003. You can use previous versions of Office and even non-Office applications with SharePoint.

To customize SharePoint, you need either SharePoint Designer 2007 or Visual Studio 2005.