MOSS – Microsoft Office SharePoint Server – Common Licensing Scenarios


When I meet people and tell them I do a licensing job they normally reply with "licensing material doesn’t cover real life", I think what they mean is the PUR or the Briefs don’t actually represent the mixed bag of scenarios that the technology associated with these products permits, and "plugging in" the licensing can prove to be a minefield for many people

I have decided to cover off some "real life" scenarios or pain points 🙂 if there are more specific scenarios required, send to me, and I will post

I will start with the one of the most popular products of the moment – MOSS 2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Scenario 1 – Intranet, MOSS Std or Ent Functionality <if you need help on deciding which, check out this previous blog>

Intranet Portal for your internal employees, contractors, anyone in your internal network or on your site working for you

Not for NON-employees or anyone you provide a service


1000 Users access the MOSS portal, 50 additional Users access the MOSS Portal acting as Content Authors, 10 additional Users access MOSS Portal for development purposes

Only the 1000 Users who have access to the Ent Functionality will also require the MOSS Ent CAL on top of there MOSS Std CAL

All users should be covered with CALs, the developers will also require VS or MSDN licenses



Scenario 2 – Intranet and Extranet, so a mixed environment of your internal employees and some business partners who work with you on collaboration/projects etc

I know it looks a little harrowing, but its not that difficult, let me cover this off


Intranet usage is as above, no change

Extranet is covered off with MOSS For Internet Sites <MOSS FIS> licenses, buy a MOSS FIS license, assign it to the server, this permits any and all NON-Employees access to this server, it also provides both Standard AND Enterprise MOSS Functionality

Dont forget that these external Users will also need Windows CALs, as an alternative you can buy the Windows Server External Connector, it can only be used, like MOSS FIS to cover external NON-employees, and not for any type of service or hosted environment



And finally, Scenario 3, When you simply want to provide MOSS to external non-employees in an Internet capacity

Once again MOSS FIS and Windows External Connectors <EC> will cover access to the MOSS/Win servers by unlimited non-employees, business partners, alumni etc, basically anyone that you don’t employ, who isn’t affiliated to you or to whom you provide a service


MOSS FIS for each server, note the Dev Server will be covered with MSDN or VS

Windows EC will ONLY be required if the users are NOT anonymous or individually identified by your servers, pure anonymous Internet users = NO Win CALs or EC, only the Windows Server  and MOSS FIS licenses need to be purchased in this example

If you set up AD or login/password authentication then Win EC would be required also


* Did you know: SQL per Processor licenses will cover all Internal AND External access to the SQL Server

* Did you know: The choice between MOSS FIS and MOSS CALs for EXTERNAL users is a financial one, usually 450+ External Users = MOSS FIS


Some pointers:

  • CALs must be same (or prior) version of server
  • Enterprise CALs are an additon to the Standard CAL, you need Standard CAL before you can buy Enterprise CAL
  • No CALs required to view content that is publicly available (MOSSFIS)
  • In a multi-tier environment in same farm, all servers must be of same edition (Standard / Enterprise)
  • MOSS FIS licenses provide external users Enterprise CAL functionality
  • No Windows CALs required if all content, information and applications are accessible through the Internet to non-employees
  • To simplify deployment, MOSS and MOSS FIS licenses may be assigned to the same server and use the same running instance of the software simultaneously under both licenses
  • Staging servers must run MOSS FIS


  1. Hi,Quick question on this – in an internet/extranet scenario is it always the case that FIS licensing is required? This statement would suggest not:"* Did you know: The choice between MOSS FIS and MOSS CALs for EXTERNAL users is a financial one, usually 450+ External Users = MOSS FIS"However, scenario 2 would suggest otherwise?Thanks.

  2. Hi ThereMOSS FIS can only be used to cover non-employee access, so no employee or contractor or working on behalf can be covered with MOSS FISIf you only have a few external users then no, you do not need to have MOSS FIS, you can have MOSS + CALs for internal and purchase MOSS CALs for the external users, obviously if you cannot guarentee who will be connecting externally, or you are over the CAL breakpoint, then MOSS FIS is a better solution for external than MOSS + CALsCheersEmma

  3. Hi Emma,So if we are looking to have internal users and external users collaborate on some Sharepoint team sites, where everyone is authenticated whether internal or external, what would we need? Would simply having a MOSS FIS and a MOSS 2007 license assigned to a single box with MOSS 2007 installed be sufficient? (ie would simply allocating a MOSS FIS license to that server be like allocating an external connector license for sharepoint?) There seems to be some info out there about how you can only use FIS for publicly available websites, which isn\’t what we are doing – since everything is authenticated. Also, would the DB Server AND the MOSS server need external connector licenses to meet the windows CAL requirements? Or can you just have the MOSS server have the external connector license since users aren\’t directly connecting to the DB server.Thanks!Derek

  4. DerekYou have not identifed if your "external" uisers are non-employees, the MOSS FIS is an external non-employee option, not for sole internal useYou have 2 choices, you can cover everyone with MOSS Server + MOSS CALs <User CALs for the external users> or you may cover internal with CALs and external non-employees with MOSS FIS, my advice to you is, unless you have over 400 external users, you are better off to go CALs and MOSS Server for all, bear in mind you also need Windows Server + Windows CALs for all as MOSS will I presume sit on Windows Server, you can use the Windows EC in place of CALs for external users, the breakpoint will be around 70 external usersMOSS FIS is per server, so 1 per box, same as Windows EC, 1 per Server boxHope this helpsEmma

  5. Emma,To clarify we have external users who are employees, and external users who are non-employees who we are collaborating with for our mutual benefit. We already have a MOSS server, MOSS FIS license, and CALs for all our employees. So what you are saying is that if I allocate the FIS license to the MOSS server, add in a windows external connector license (for the windows CAL for external users) and MOSS FIS license (for sharepoint CALs for external users) we are all set? If so, is there any actual installation required since we already got the MOSS server setup, and the EC and FIS licenses in this case are perfectly virtual?Also, I\’m still a bit confused about the windows EC requirement when it comes to the DB server we are using for sharepoint. I know I need an EC on the server box, but do I also need the EC on the database box since the end users aren\’t directly connecting to that box? (since its the server that pulls the data from the database)Thanks in advance for your clarification. As my company\’s licensing specialist, I really love this site!Derek

  6. Hi DerekYes, you are all set, Windows EC or CALs for external users and MOSS FISAbsolutely no need to reinstall anything, this is a "licensing right" so having MOSS FIS will cover you for external, having the MOSS Server for internal, both licenses accomodate internal/externalTechnically there is nothing different you need to do, although MOSS FIS provides both Std and Ent functionality at device end!You only need a Win EC on the front end boxes that the users are connecting and authenticating to, although there should be no direct or indirect access to the DB boxCheersEmma

  7. Hi Emma, I wonder if you could help me? We have a small MOSS 2007 setup with 200 users (1xMOSS Server+1SQL Server). It is currently setup with only the standard features enabled, and we would like to make use of the Enterprise features e.g. Excel Services etc. When we made the purchase we aquired 200 Standard CALs and 10 Enterpise CALs. If we only wanted 10 users to have acess to the Enterprise Features could we upgrade MOSS to Enterprise (I understand this is a fairly simple task) – And would the other 190 Users be able to continue accessing the MOSS but only have standard access? Am I missing something?Thanks in Advance – JimminyP

  8. Hi ThereIn very simple terms, once you enable the Enterprise MOSS features on a server or server farm, all devices/users accessing will need to have Std+Ent CAL, if you consider that the server has no built-in intelligence to distinguish between std or std+ent clients, you immediately run the risk of non-compliancy, as a user with Std only CAL *could* recieve Ent functionalityHope this helpsEmma

  9. Greetings Emma,It seems the prescriptive guidance you give in your last comment is subject to debate. The Microsoft licensing FAQ states for example: "Consequently, you can mix Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server for Internet Sites within the same farm–so long as the use cases are licensed appropriately. However, because Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Internet Sites licenses the functionality of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Enterprise CAL, you will need to ensure that your users only access functionality they are licensed for based on their CALs."As you mention, "the server has no built-in intelligence to distinguish between std or std+ent clients" however that should not prevent an organisation from smartly structuring their security groups and permissions so as to mitigate the risk of non-compliance (for example tightly limiting permissions on sites containing Ent functionality). At least, that is how I interpret the FAQ\’s statement above. Is there clearer, more up-to-date official guidance from Microsoft that you can point to in order to clarify this issue?Thanks – Alex

  10. Hi AlexanderThe info from me will be "official"We are having the FAQ updated to clearly reflect the guidance on this, to be clear, licensing is a trust model, deployment will be customer choice, I can give you guidance from a licensing and compliancy perspective, please also bear in mind the onus will be on the end customer to make sure that the functionality is properlly segmented if they choose to "blend" the licensing, and we will ask for this to be demonstrated From a licensing perspective I will always advise to you, that once you switch on the Enterprise functionality to Users/Devices accessing the server, Std+Ent CALs are required for all – deployment is customer choiceCheersEmmaHope this is clearThanksEmma

  11. Hello EmmaI truly appreciate the above info…I have a sort of follow-up question:Is it possible to explain to me how you would license the MOSS if the user is going to put it under clustering environment?Thanks

  12. Hi StevenAll the above is in relation to Volume Licensing, not Service Provider Licensing, which is governed by the PUR not the SPUR, unless stated, all my product posts will be for VL products, not SPLA, MOSS FIS in PUR is per serverCheersEmma

  13. Hi Emma,I have asked other people at Microsoft this question but have not so far received a satisfactory answer…here goes…Can I use the Windows SharePoint Services component of Windows Server to host an Internet site for all anonymous users. i.e. I have determined I only need the functionality of Windows SharePoint Services for my Website and do not require the additional functionality provided by SharePoint Portal Server/MOSS.I am put off SharePoint for Internet Sites Licence by the cost which is at least £32,000 for a Licence only, especially when products exist such as DotNetNuke, Drupal and Joomla.Also I am sure there are people out there using Windows SharePoint Services for Internet facing sites, like this one – I just need to know if there are any licensing or compliancy issues with this scenario.Thanks Emma it\’s great to see someone surface all this information from the Microsoft Licensing Sites and Volume Licensing Briefs.Best wishesPaul

  14. Hi PaulTechnically i dont know if WSS will suffice for what you actually want to achieve, but, I am sure you have figured out yourself if it is suitable – more info on here is actually built through from WSS and there is no issue with internet access to WSSFrom a licensing perspective, switching on WSS as a component of Windows will trigger the need for a CAL or External Connector under the same conditions Windows Server would, so provided the end users/devices are not authenticated in any way, not individually distinguished, so its pure anonymous browsing, you wouldnt need CALs for internal nor External Connector to cover external connections, just a word of advice, make sure there is no identification of these end points/users or you would need CALs/EC to be compliant – that said, an EC, which covers all external access is still no were near the cost of MOSS, even if you had to buy it to cover this solution :-)Hope this helpsEmma

  15. Hi Emma. Sorry if you have covered this as I am new to your site.Are you able to help with the following scenario?A hosting company provides Sharepoint services to multiple external users not employees of the hosting company.The majority of users are contributers but there are also a large number of view only users.The solution is made up of:-ISA Servers for proxying loginsAD servers for authenticationMOSS Servers for the front endA MOSS server for indexingSQL servers for MOSS contentThis is obviously a SPLA situation but I am not clear what other licences are required eg per proc or SAL for SQL? MOSS FIS for Moss reviews and SALS for contributers? Any help very gratefully accepted.

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  17. Hi Emma, In scenario 3 why does the Staging Server behind the firewall need a SharePoint FIS license when it does not have any access at all by external users? Can you reference the PUR section that covers this for me please?

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