The art of Microsoft Lync 2010 licensing

There is often some complexity to understanding how Microsoft licensing works.  With Lync 2010, Microsoft has done a good job of simplifying this as much as possible.   To make sure that it is clear we gathered this information for a range of sources and consolidated it here:

Microsoft Lync 2010 is licensed in the Server /CAL model.  There are three types of licenses:

  • Server licenses,
  • Client access licenses,
  • External connector licenses.

Server Licenses

A license must be assigned for each instance of the server software that is being run and it is sold in two editions:

  • Standard Edition
  • Enterprise Edition

Client Access Licences

To access Microsoft Lync 2010, a CAL, is required to give a user the right to access the services of the server.  There are three CALs for Lync:

  • Standard CAL
  • Enterprise CAL
  • Plus CAL

Enterprise CALs and Plus CALs are additive-they are sold as a supplement to the Standard CAL. This means that to enable Standard CAL features for a user, the user must be licensed with just the Standard CAL. To use either the Enterprise CAL or the Plus CAL features, the user must be licensed with one (1) Standard CAL and either one (1) Enterprise CAL or one (1) Plus CAL.  To enable all features, a user must be licensed with all three CALs.  Importantly, each CAL works with either the Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition of the Server.

Device and User CALs

For each Lync CAL, there are two types of CALs available for purchase:

  • Device-based CAL (Device CAL)
  • User-based CAL (User CAL)

With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every authenticated user who accesses Microsoft Lync 2010 features, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access. Purchasing a User CAL may make more sense if your users need to have roaming access to the corporate network using multiple devices, unknown devices, or more devices than users in your organization.

With a Device CAL, you purchase a CAL for every device that accesses Microsoft Lync 2010 features, regardless of the number of authenticated users who use that device to access the server. Device CALs may make more economic and administrative sense if your company has workers who share devices, for example, on different work shifts.

The decision between Device CAL and User CAL is financial, and you have the option to choose based on your needs. Additionally, in the case where neither the device nor the user is authenticated, a CAL is not required.

External Connector Licenses

If you want external users who are not your employees-such as business partners, external contractors, or other temporary staff- to be able to access your Microsoft Lync 2010 as authenticated users, you have two licensing options:

  • Acquire CALs for each of your external users.
  • Acquire External Connector (EC) licenses for each server that will be accessed by your external users.

An EC license is an alternative to CALs for each server that external users will access. An EC license assigned to a Microsoft Lync 2010 permits access by any number of external users like Students. Each physical server that is accessed by external users requires only one EC license regardless of the number of instances running.

There are three External Connectors for Microsoft Lync 2010:

  • Microsoft Lync 2010 External Connector Standard
  • Microsoft Lync 2010 External Connector Enterprise
  • Microsoft Lync 2010 External Connector Plus

Client Application

In order to access the functionality of Microsoft Lync 2010 and have an authenticated experience, you need the Lync client application.  You can purchase the Lync 2010 client as a standalone application or as part of the Office Professional Plus 2010 suite.

How to Deploy Lync Licenses

Server Licenses

A server license is required for each physical or virtual instance of the Microsoft Lync 2010 Front End Server Role (required with every Lync deployment). Both Standard and Enterprise editions can be installed and configured in many server roles on a server running Microsoft Windows Server®. Server roles are Microsoft Lync 2010 instances which run a specialized set of functionality, such as audio/video conferencing, edge services, or mediation between Enterprise Voice and the PSTN.  Some roles are considered additional software and do not require a license. For these roles, you may run any number of instances directly with the Front End Server role. 

Server Roles

Lync 2010 Server Standard and Enterprise editions can be installed and configured in many server roles on a server running Windows Server. Server roles are Microsoft Lync 2010 instances which run a specialized set of functionality, such as audio/video conferencing, edge services, or mediation between Enterprise Voice and the PSTN.  The Front End Server role is required for every deployment, and each instance requires a license.  Most Server roles are considered “additional software” and do not require a license.

Server Role Descriptions:

  • A/V Conferencing Server: A server role that mixes and manages audio/video inputs from multiple sources for multiparty audio/video conferences.
  • Application Sharing Server: A server role that manages and streams shared applications or an entire desktop during a conference.
  • Archiving Server: A server role that includes the Archiving service and the Archiving database. The Archiving Server captures all IM conversations and IM group conferences and stores them in a SQL Server database.
  • Back-End Database: A server role that hosts the SQL Server database that stores user information and conference state, including persistent and transient user data, and persistent settings to the Front End Server. The Back-End Database is collocated with a Standard Edition server. In an Enterprise pool, the Back-End Database is deployed on a separate, dedicated computer.
  • Chat Room Server: A server role that instantiates, manages permissions for, maintains the state of, and deletes chat rooms.
  • Conferencing Server: A server role that mixes and manages inputs from multiple clients in a group session. Also called multipoint control unit (MCU).
  • Director: A Server role that authenticates internal and external users and routes traffic between Edge Servers and the internal Microsoft Lync 2010 deployment.
  • Edge Server: A server role that is deployed in the perimeter network to provide connectivity for external users, federated users, and public IM connections. An Edge Server runs three services: Access Edge service, A/V Edge service, and Web Conferencing Edge service. All three services are automatically installed with an Edge Server.
  • Front End Server: A server role that is responsible for user registration, presence, IM, and communications routing. This may also include the conferencing server that hosts the IM Conferencing Service, Address Book Service, and Telephony Conferencing Service.
  • Mediation Server: A server role that mediates signalling and media between Directors or Front End Servers and a media gateway.
  • Monitoring Server: A server role in the internal network that collects call detail records and quality of experience (QoE) information.
  • Telephony Conferencing Server: A role that runs on a Front End Server and manages audio conferencing provider (ACP) integration. This enables multi-party conferencing with PSTN callers who are connecting through an ACP.
  • Web Conferencing Server: A server role that manages data collaboration for online conferences.

Client Access Licenses

CALs are required for each user or device that will access instances of the Microsoft Lync 2010 roles. Each server instance may provide different functionality to the user, and therefore not all servers in your Lync architecture/topology require a CAL.

For example, if you deployed the Microsoft Lync 2010 Front End Role and also deployed Microsoft Lync 2010 in Web Conferencing Server Role, you would need the Microsoft Lync 2010 Standard CAL for the rich IM and presence features, and the Microsoft Lync 2010 Enterprise CAL for the online conference features. This example would not require the Plus CAL.

 

Server Role

CAL’s required

Conferencing

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Application Sharing

Standard, Enterprise

Archiving

Standard

Back end database

N/A

Director

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Edge

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Front End

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Mediation

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Monitoring

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

A/V Conferencing

Standard, Enterprise and/or Plus

Chat Room

Standard

Telephony Conferencing

Standard, Enterprise

Web Conferencing

Standard, Enterprise

Licensing External Users

External users may require a license in order to access a Microsoft Lync 2010. There are four types of external users that may access a Microsoft Lync 2010:

  • Federated users
  • Anonymous users
  • External users
  • Public IM Connectivity users

Federated Users

A federated user is an external user that possesses valid credentials with a federated partner and is authenticated on that basis by Microsoft Lync 2010. Federation is a feature provided with your licenses of Microsoft Lync 2010. Users connected by federation with another partner do not require a CAL or External Connector License.

Unauthenticated Users

An unauthenticated, or anonymous, user is a person/device that does not have an identity in the Active Directory Domain Services. Unlike a federated user, an anonymous user is not authenticated. You do not require licenses for unauthenticated users of Microsoft Lync 2010.

External Authenticated Users

An EC license permits an unlimited number of authenticated  external users to access a Microsoft Lync 2010 in scenarios where the number of CALs is uncertain. The number of EC licenses required corresponds to the number of physical Microsoft Lync 2010 servers, regardless of the number of instances. The specific EC required is determined by the equivalent CAL features the external users would require. The following lists available EC licenses and the equivalent CAL features:

  • External Connector Standard-equivalent to the Standard CAL features
  • External Connector Enterprise-equivalent to the Enterprise CAL features
  • External Connector Plus-equivalent to the Plus CAL features

Public Instant Messaging Users

Microsoft Lync 2010 provides organizations with the capability to connect their existing base of Microsoft Lync 2010-enabled users to the top public IM service providers. Licensing requirements for Public IM Connectivity depends on the service providers you want to connect with, and your Microsoft Lync 2010 CALs.

  • Windows LiveTM and AOL: Customers with Microsoft Lync 2010 with active Software Assurance (SA) qualify for federation with Windows Live Messenger and AOL without additional licensing requirements. Customers that do not meet the qualifying requirements should buy the Lync Public IM Connectivity (PIC) license for federation with Windows Live Messenger and AOL.
  • Yahoo!: Federation with Yahoo! requires the Microsoft Lync 2010 PIC per-user subscription license. The Microsoft Lync 2010 PIC license is sold separately on a per-user, per-month basis as a Microsoft service. PIC service licenses are available for Microsoft Volume License customers only.
  • XMPP Networks: Federation with XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) networks, such as Google Talk, can be enabled through the Microsoft Lync 2010 XMPP Gateway. This Gateway provides presence sharing and instant messaging (IM) with XMPP networks. It is available at no additional licensing cost.

Version Details

Standard Edition

It is intended for deployments with fewer than 5,000 users either in total or at a particular location. 

Enterprise Edition

An Enterprise Edition server has all of the Standard Edition server features; however it provides scalability and high availability. It is intended to allow an unlimited number of users in any location/configuration.

Prerequisites

Microsoft Lync 2010 requires Windows Server® and Microsoft SQL Server® to run and may not include licenses for those products. Be sure you have the correct licenses for Windows Server and SQL Server.

  • Windows Server is typically licensed through the Server/CAL model. For complete information on licensing for Windows Server, see the Windows Server 2008 R2 licensing page.
  • SQL Server has two primary licensing models: Server/CAL and per processor. For complete information on licensing for SQL Server, see the SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing page.
  • SQL Server Express is provided with your Microsoft Lync 2010 Standard Edition license.

Client Access Licenses

Standard CAL

The Microsoft Lync 2010 Standard CAL offers instant messaging and rich presence (IM/P) features. It provides users with real-time presence and enhanced IM along with PC-to-PC audio and video communications. Additionally it provides users with authenticated attendee experience for internally hosted conferences.

Enterprise CAL

The Microsoft Lync 2010 Enterprise CAL offers the audio, video, and Web conferencing features. It provides users the ability to create, moderate, and join conferences for collaboration with both internal and external users.

Plus CAL

The Microsoft Lync 2010 Plus CAL offers enterprise voice telephony features. It provides high-quality voice and other related features to users anywhere with an Internet connection across IP phones, PCs, and desktop applications. 

Prerequisite CALs:

For each Microsoft Lync 2010 CAL, there are other possible prerequisites for underlying Microsoft technologies-primarily dependent on the features you would like to utilize. The following Microsoft products may be required with Lync:

  • A Windows Server CAL is required for each user or device in all scenarios. Windows Server is typically licensed through the Server/CAL model.
  • Exchange Standard and Enterprise CALs are required for users with Unified Messaging scenarios.
  • SharePoint is required for users taking advantage of the Skill Search feature.
  • Office 2010 is required for users for Office integration scenarios.