In the past I’ve had “licensing explained” articles for OCS 2007 (R1) and OCS 2007 R2, and these were among my most read articles (not sure if that’s good or bad, I guess a little of both). I always assumed that I’d do an equivalent post for Lync Server once it was public, but to be honest the licensing is quite a bit simpler than it was before. At least is seems that way, perhaps it’s because I’ve grown to used to Microsoft licensing after all these years. So, instead of a post explaining nuances and gotchas, I’ll give an overview and highlight notable changes from the R2 licensing structure (along with a few nuances).
First, a disclaimer: the information in this article should not be considered or used as official licensing guidance. Always consult Microsoft or one of its certified licensing partners for assistance to ensure licensing compliance. Microsoft’s full Lync Server licensing information can be found here. Now, on to more interesting topics.
Standard CAL Changes
The most notable (if not only) change to the Standard CAL is that it can be used for both presenter and attendees of conferences. Previously an Enterprise CAL was required for presenters. Nuance alert – if you are initiating/scheduling a conference that includes audio and/or video then an Enterprise CAL is required. The Standard CAL covers attendees even when the conference includes audio/video.
Enterprise CAL Changes
In R2 all conferencing and voice that wasn’t covered in the Standard CAL was covered in the Enterprise CAL, but with the addition of the Plus CAL (more on that below) this is no longer the case. In a nutshell, the Enterprise CAL is required for the scheduling and/or initiation of any conference that includes audio or video. This includes conferences that include PBX/PSTN participants. However, the Enterprise CAL no longer includes making/receiving PSTN calls (Enterprise Voice). For this you need a Plus CAL.
The Plus CAL gives you the basic make/receive capability of Enterprise Voice, plus all the other voice features such as multi-party audio conferencing, all the new calling features (park, E911, etc.), delegation, and response groups. Like before the CALs are additive, meaning that you must buy the Standard CAL in order to purchase the others, but the Plus CAL is not reliant on the Enterprise CAL. If you do not need the conferencing capabilities of the Enterprise CAL but want all the voice features then you could buy only the Standard + Plus CALs. And, as before, you can mix and match within your organization as appropriate. There is also no specific dependency between the CAL version and the server version.
I hate this term, it seems to mean the exact opposite of its intention. “Additional Software” in Microsoft licensing terms means software that is included in the price of something else that you bought. I don’t know why it’s not called “Included Software” but I digress. The major change here is that the Edge Server is now included as Additional Software, meaning that you no longer need to license it. This effectively means that the only server licenses you need to purchase are the ones for your front end servers. The link at the top of this article has a complete list of the server roles and other software that fall into this bucket.
Short Term Offer
If you are reading this on or around the post date (October 19, 2010) then you still have the opportunity to be grandfathered into the new licensing scheme. Customers who own OCS 2007 R2 Enterprise CALs under SA (Software Assurance) before December 1, 2010 are automatically granted both Enterprise and Plus CALs for Lync Server. Not a bad deal, considering the list price as of this writing ($107 for each of the Enterprise and Plus CALs). There have been similar offers all the way back to LCS 2005 > OCS 2007 so make sure you structure your licensing so that you remain covered under SA through the next Wave release.