MS Campus Agreement: Core CAL or Enterprise CAL?

As many of you know, we’re rapidly approaching the time to renew our Microsoft Campus Agreement.  With the release of Exchange Server 2007, Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007, and the forthcoming release of Office Communications Server 2007 and the System Center family of products, Microsoft has added a new twist to the licensing story: Enter the Enterprise CAL Suite.

Traditionally, Microsoft has offered the “Campus Desktop”, which includes Windows upgrades, Office Enterprise, and the Core CAL Suite.  The Core CAL suite has traditionally given you licensing for Windows Server, Exchange, and SharePoint.

So, what’s the difference between the Enterprise CAL suite and the Core CAL suite, and why would I be interested in it?

Let’s start by comparing the two:

Core CAL Suite

Enterprise CAL Suite

Windows Server CAL

Windows Server CAL

Exchange Server 2007 Standard CAL

Exchange Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL

Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard CAL

Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL

System Center Configuration Manager (SMSv4) Configuration Management License (CML)

System Center Configuration Manager (SMSv4) Configuration Management License (CML)

Office Communications Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise CAL
Windows Rights Management Services CAL
System Center Operations Manager Client Operations Management License (OML)
Microsoft Forefront Security Suite

“Yeah, so, the Core CAL suite gives me everything I care about?  Why should I shell out the extra money for the Enterprise CAL suite?”

Let’s look at Exchange Server 2007, for example:  As we continue down the path of deploying Exchange Server 2007 and its feature set, departments wanting to take advantage of the advanced features (like Unified Messaging) when we release ’em will need to ensure that they hold the Exchange Enterprise CAL in addition to the Standard CAL.  The Enterprise CAL suite gives you the full feature set for each of the server products listed above, in addition to the Forefront Security Suite when it becomes available later this year.

“How much extra per user is the Enterprise CAL suite versus the Core CAL suite?”

While I don’t know exact pricing, and you shouldn’t quote me on anything related to pricing, I heard today that the Enterprise CAL suite is ~$1/FTE more than the current Campus Desktop with Core CAL offering is today.  Considering the standalone costs of the Enterprise CALs plus the Forefront suite, it’s well worth the investment to unlock the additional features in these products.

If you are the licensing administrator for your department, I’d encourage you to consider bumping up to the Enterprise CAL suite on your renewal this year.  As your department looks at taking advantage of the central Microsoft services C&C is rolling out, it’ll save you truck loads[1] on licensing.

For more information on the Microsoft CAL suites, check out

To renew your department’s participation in the UW’s Campus Agreement, get a hold of Dave McCone at mccone at u dot washington dot edu.  Do it fast — the prices are going up after June 15th!

For information on what the Exchange Enterprise CAL license gets you, check out

Enjoy your weekend!


[1] Unfortunately, the size of the truck was undefined, so depending on your organization and your organization’s participation in C&C’s Microsoft services, you may save anywhere from a small Tonka truck’s worth of cash to upwards of that semi that nearly ran you off the road last weekend.

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