SPC14 – Day 3 – The ins and outs of SharePoint Licensing

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This is the last session of the day and one without any demo’s. I choose this session especially because of all the questions regarding this subject. And more so with the aspects of Azure and Office365 playing along. One note beforehand: on the volume license site of Microsoft there is a lot of documentation regarding terms, product descriptions, et cetera.

Where the on-premise environment need server licenses, client access licenses (CAL’s) and a transactional or perpetual commitment, Office365 uses the subscription model. There is a difference between internal and external users.



The online versions of SharePoint also have their own licensing/subscription models. These plans include:

  • SharePoint Online Plan 1 and 2 (SharePoint Online)
  • E1,2,34 and kiosk (Office365)
  • Small, small premium and midsize business (Office365 small & midsize business)

All of these plans (excluding kiosk) include OneDrive for Business with the 25GB per user limit.

Office Web Applications

This platform requires it’s own licensing/subscription. Reading documents online is free. Modifying documents requires Office 2013 (standard/professional) on-premise. Online you need either an Office365 SKU or Office standard/professional with software insurance. Note: this is for internal users. External users do not have to pay for Office Web Apps.

SharePoint online changes

Microsoft recently changed the quota of the SharePoint Online offering. Some nice ones: unlimited storage, 1TB site collection, 25GB per user. The sky is almost the limit. See below for some more information.


Microsoft also offers to combine on-premise with online. By using Office365 add-ons, you can add the Office365 license to your current CAL’s. You can also choose to go for a full Office365 user subscription. Either way, the total amount per user is the same. The difference is in how an enterprise want to manage their licenses. This is very complex, hopefully this might explain a bit more:




This is more simple. You have the SharePoint CAL’s, SharePoint server license (Standard/Enterprise) and the SharePoint suite – which combines the two.

Feature tiering

So, what do you get?



The was a non-technical session which by way of complexity really could match with any 400-level technical session. Microsoft still does not make licensing easy. Office365 is clear, on-premise is (relatively) clear, combining the tool will still be a pain. All the slides in this post will become available when the sessions can be downloaded. If you are interested: download this session!

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