Every so often I need to delve into the murky waters of SharePoint licensing. I always find this challenging. Mainly because there is a lot of contradictory information out there. I can understand why – there are many different scenarios, its complicated, people interpret the rules in lots of different ways, the rules have changed over time.
Where possible, I try to reference information directly from Microsoft, as this obviously has a lot more credibility than some blog post that you read (present blogger excepted). Imagine my surprise when I recently had to research information for a SharePoint 2007 engagement I’m working on – Microsoft seems to have removed all of the SharePoint 2007 licensing information from their site. Well, they aren’t selling it any more, so I guess that makes sense. But what if you need to answer a licensing question from an existing SharePoint 2007 client?
Of course the correct answer here is to refer your client to a mythical licensing expert, then wash your hands of the whole incident. After all, you are responsible for zeros and ones, not licensing compliance.
But what if you did actually want to understand what is allowed and even provide “evidence” to back up any readings you have taken of the licensing tea-leaves?
Here are two links that I have recently come across that I think are worth sharing. These are correct at the time of writing.
http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/DocumentSearch.aspx – Search for licensing documents. I’d recommend selecting PUR (Product Use Rights) in the first column and then your preferred language, region and sector. The real magic for me is the “Show Archived” checkbox. This allows you to access older documents that contain details on products that are no longer sold (e.g. SharePoint 2007). I’ve found I get more archived results if I set Region to “WW (World Wide)”. Note that the archived results are displayed in a separate box below the current results.
http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/8/9/68964284-864d-4a6d-aed9-f2c1f8f23e14/Assessing_SharePoint_Server_Licensing.docx – “A Guide to Assessing SharePoint Server Licensing” – December 2010. Here is the summary, straight from the document:
“This document gives Microsoft® Volume Licensing customers an overview of licensing for Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2007, and SharePoint Server 2003, as well as guidance on how to assess the licenses needed. Please refer to the Product Use Rights (PUR) document for detailed guidance”