Brief Lesson on Exchange Licensing

Understand Exchange's per-server vs. per-user licensing implications and you'll save money down the road.

Bill: I'm about to upgrade our seven-year-old Macintosh e-mail server to a Windows 2000-based Exchange server. We'll primarily be using the Exchange server as a POP server but would also like to have a server-based address book.

Based on these specs, is it necessary to purchase client licenses for each computer that will have a POP account set up and that will use the public
address book?
—Joshua Stein, MCSD
Portland, Oregon

Get Help from Bill

Got a Windows or Exchange question or need troubleshooting help? Or maybe you want a better explanation than provided in the manuals? Describe your dilemma in an e-mail to Bill at; the best questions get answered in this column.

When you send your questions, please include your full first and last name, location, certifications (if any) with your message. (If you prefer to remain anonymous, specify this in your message but submit the requested information for verification purposes.)

Joshua: The license agreement for Exchange 2000 states that you must have a CAL for any user who gains access to Exchange services. This includes POP3, IMAP4, and OWA connections along with standard Outlook clients.

Exchange 2000 has a per-server license and a per-user license. You should opt for the per-user license so that you can set up a second server in the future, if necessary. With per-user licensing, you'll need 1,000 CALs if you have a thousand users with accounts on the Exchange server.

Exchange 2003 has a per-device CAL so that multiple users can access the Exchange server via a kiosk machine and take only a single CAL. You can purchase a mix of per-device and per-user CALs for the same Exchange organization, but the License Service does not know how to differentiate between them so you have to keep pretty careful records.

For extensive licensing information for Exchange and other servers, check out

Hope this helps.

About the Author

Contributing Editor Bill Boswell, MCSE, is the principal of Bill Boswell Consulting, Inc. He's the author of Inside Windows Server 2003 and Learning Exchange Server 2003 both from Addison Wesley. Bill is also Redmond magazine's "Windows Insider" columnist and a speaker at MCP Magazine's TechMentor Conferences.


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