Jack of all that is Microsoft, Master of None

September 12, 2007

MOSS 2007 Licensing Decoded

Filed under: Licensing, Microsoft, MOSS 2007, SharePoint, SharePoint 2007 — cregan @ 11:47 pm

Lately, I’ve been working on a large number of MOSS 2007 consulting projects, and I am always asked the question as to how MOSS is licensed.  So I have decided to write this up and post it for everyone to use as a reference.  Please note that I always recommend that you speak with your local Microsoft Account Rep, as licensing can change very quickly…

If you are not going to use any of the following enterprise features (to name a few):

  • Business Data Catalog
  • InfoPath Forms Services
  • Excel Services
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Reports Center 

Then you will need the following licenses to start:

  • SQL Server License for each SQL server (typically one server – but if you are running a cluster, obviously more).  If you are going to have more than a couple hundred users, I would recommend that you look into licensing SQL server on a per-processor basis, which allows an unlimited number of SQL users per processor.  You also need to decide if you are going to run Standard or Enterprise Edition…To determine which edition will suit you best, take a look at the following: http://www.microsoft.com/sql/prodinfo/features/compare-features.mspx.
  • 1 SQL Server Client Access License for every MOSS user.  The number of these licenses purchased is usually equal to the number of MOSS CALs purchased.  If you purchase the per-processor version of SQL server then you will not need to purchase individual SQL CALs.
  • MOSS Server License for every server that MOSS will be installed on.  This would include servers that will just have one role on them – such as dedicated Index and Search servers.  Note that this license is not differentiated between standard & enterprise.  It’s just a single SKU.
  • 1 MOSS Standard Edition Client Access License for every MOSS user.  Standard Edition will get you all of the basic collaboration features, search & indexing, document collaboration & Office integration.   Note that if you are unsure of whether you need to utilize the Enterprise Edition, visit this site for more of a comparison of the versions: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointserver/HA101978031033.aspx 

Now if you do want to use the Enterprise features, in addition to the licenses mentioned above, you will need to purchase 1 MOSS Enterprise Edition Client Access License for every MOSS user.  This is an additive license – meaning that you must purchase both the Standard and Enterprise CALS per user.  I.e., You can’t just buy all enterprise edition CALs… you need the underlying Standard Edition CALs first.

Now… note that there is also a ‘SharePoint 2007 for Internet Sites’ license – this is specifically for internet-facing sites only.  Essentially, all of the site content, information & applications must be made available to non-employees.  You do, however, have all of the enterprise edition features with this license.  There are some caveats and gray areas with this – so if you think you may need it (btw, it costs about $40k per server), you will definitely want to speak with your Microsoft representative.

Any questions – let me know.  I’ll do my best to answer them for you.




  1. Hi, thanks for your licensing help, i found it very helpful. I do have a question however.

    If a company already has a MOSS 2007 setup that is licensed and CALs for everything, and then builds another MOSS farm, would you need new CALs for all the clients/users that will connect to the new farm? or would you only need the server licenses for the new farm? or would you need both server and cals for the new farm and users.

    Thanks for your help with this

    Comment by John — November 7, 2007 @ 8:40 am

  2. Hi John,

    Is the new farm on completely separate hardware? If so, you would need to purchase additional MOSS and SQL licenses for the servers themselves.

    As far as the users, my knowledge is that as long as you have the appropriate CAL(s) for each user, the CAL is not limited to 1 farm within the same enterprise. Meaning that John who works for Company X can connect to both of Company X’s MOSS farms. Note that if John wants to connect to Company Y’s farm – he needs an additional CAL from Company Y.

    Hope that helps,

    Comment by cregan — November 7, 2007 @ 2:59 pm

  3. Can an Enterprise trial be fully-licensed by a For Internet Sites key?

    Comment by Roger Klorese — January 9, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

  4. In the following three tier server set up, (A) MOSS web front end, (B) Indexing/Search/Central Admin, and (C) Separate SQL 2005 server…

    I understand we need 2 MOSS licenses for servers (A) and (B), but are we required to purchase a third MOSS license for the Database server (C)? Or just the SQL license will suffice?

    Comment by Alan — February 13, 2008 @ 6:39 pm

  5. Hi Alan,

    Just the proper SQL Server license will suffice. If you have any questions regarding the SQL Server licensing, let me know.


    Comment by cregan — February 13, 2008 @ 11:25 pm

  6. How do you keep track of Enterprise User CALs in bigger orginaziation so that you are not overly using the CALs. Currently, for Standard Cals we are generating reports based on IIS. Is there any way to track Enterprise User Cals for true up?

    Comment by wali — May 21, 2008 @ 11:22 am

  7. Is it possible to have your front end run Enterprise edition and your database server run standard edition?

    Comment by Terry — November 20, 2008 @ 5:13 pm

  8. Do we need to buy MOSS Standard CAL licenses for users who will be mainly using basic WSS features such as basic collaboration, and document sharing?

    Of course, we will buy Standard and Enterprise CALs for Managers, and executives will be using MySites, Workflows and other MOSS Enterprise features.

    But, the question is that do we need to buy MOSS Standard CAL for user who uses basic Intranet, Shared Docs, and just basic features of WSS? We have more than 1000 users in manufacturing environment who access basic features of WSS. Thanks.

    Comment by Tommy — December 10, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

    • I’m trying to figure this out as well.

      We have 100 users (with CALs) at a regional office accessing our MOSS server, my sites, search etc.

      We also want to create top level site collections (WSS sites) on the same server, but those would be for other users who do NOT have access to the MOSS portal, nor MySites, etc. Only the site collection.

      In this latter example, those users would not need MOSS CALs, correct?

      Comment by Robin Majumdar — June 17, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

      • Robin – Because it is not possible to differentiate easily what users are using the MOSS functionality and what users are using strictly WSS based functionality, theoretically MOSS cals are required for all users.

        There are ways of limiting what capabilities are available to users by turning on and off feature sets and then limiting particular security groups to particular web applications or site collections. Additionally, RDA corp has a tool that will track which users are using what features.

        Comment by Dan Usher — June 17, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  9. Hey Chris,

    My understanding with regard to the SQL Server licensing was that you didn’t have a choice between user CALs and processor CALs if you were running SharePoint, but that you were forced to operate on the processor CAL. The other thing to mention is the infamous SharePoint connector which opens up a can of worms of requirements to be “legitimate.”

    Anyway, good post on licensing to help break it down since it’s a topic that’s always fun to go through 🙂


    Comment by Dan Usher — January 23, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  10. Am I correct in saying that you can run both Standard and Enterprise on the same physical/logical server as long as they are in seperate farms?

    Comment by Dean Morgan — March 16, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  11. Dean,

    Not quite certain how you’re going to provision separate farms onto the same physical hardware. What you can do however is utilize SharePoint’s web application policy management to deny access to all users except a specific group – that group being users that should have access to a web application with enterprise capability enabled.

    Comment by Dan Usher — March 16, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  12. If we have forms that are made available via InfoPath Forms Services
    installed on MOSS, then I realise the people creating/deploying the forms need Enterprise MOSS CAL, yes?
    But…do ‘ordinary’ users (internal or external) need a MOSS CAL to just access the forms and fill them in?


    Comment by Padraig Denihan — September 7, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  13. I may have missed… We have a SP 2007 and full version of sql 2005 running inside our network. We want to set up a duplicate server at our DR location… what do we need for licenses? This will only be used if our internal sites go down.
    Than you!

    Comment by jmcp63@gmail.com — January 31, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

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