Monday, May 22, 2006

WSS: Licensing for external users

Whenever you’re investigating licensing models, you should check with the vendor to verify that you’re following the appropriate model.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to external access to Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), this statement remains true. Having just gotten off the phone with Microsoft sales reps, and pre-sales engineers, the answer I received might provide some additional clarity for those of you investigating external access to WSS. What they told me basically confirms what I found on this site – but the additional background might prove helpful.

For all intents and purposes, WSS is considered a built-in component of Windows 2003 server. So it follows the standard Windows licensing model; meaning that you need a CAL for each user who will be accessing the site, as well SQL server licensing appropriate to your situation.

When it comes to external access, it’s important to consider “who”, and “how”. For instance, in the situation at hand, I needed to provide stakeholders’ access to WSS from the Internet. These particular stakeholders already have appropriate CALs, and as a result, they’re already covered under the Windows licensing model.

Where the situation changes, is when you don’t know the answer to the “who” part. Specifically, if you’re going to be providing anonymous access to your WSS sites, then you’ll need a “Windows External Connector” license (~$1,900 per server).

In other words:

No anonymous access = Windows CALs
Anonymous access = Windows External Connector license.

WSS Licensing requirements

SQL Server Licensing models

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