Should You be Worried About Changes to Microsoft’s External Connector Licensing? Maybe.

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on delivering savings in the areas of IT, telecom and transportation.

Ready for another licensing change from Microsoft? According to its October PUR (product use rights), Microsoft has eliminated several key External Connectors from its list of offerings – including those External Connectors for Exchange, Lync and SharePoint Servers.

If you're wondering what that means for your business, you're not alone. IT and sourcing professionals are struggling to understand the implications.

Here is an excerpt from Microsoft's October PUR:

"With the 2013 versions of Exchange Server, Lync Server and SharePoint Server, we are consolidating the right for External Users to access the server under the server license assigned to the server on which the software runs. There will be no 2013 version of the External Connector License or SharePoint for Internet Sites..."

In the simplest terms, External Connectors provide users with access to Microsoft applications through Microsoft's servers. They're commonly used within distributed and/or highly-customized IT environments that require outside parties (e.g. suppliers, vendors, partners, contractors) to access these systems to conduct business. In the past, External Connectors were licensed based on workload, which meant as many outside users could connect to internal systems as the workload capacity would allow. Now that many of these External Connectors have been eliminated, every outside user will require a new license under Microsoft's User CAL.

So, let's say you have 500 contractors. You need to provide Lync access to those contractors for real-time communication. In the past, Microsoft has let you do this by purchasing External Connectors that can handle the workload. But, now that the Lync Server External Connector has been eliminated, you will need to add 500 licenses to your User CAL.

This is, of course, a theoretical example. Depending on your unique IT environment and Microsoft licensing structure, the impact could be negligible or amplified. But, those companies that require tight supplier, partner and contractor integration will certainly feel a pinch. The question is whether or not they will be able to absorb or mitigate the cost impact.

- Jon Winsett, CEO, NPI

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Voices (2)

  1. Phillip Lyle:

    PURReader, you are correct; Jon Winsett is wrong.

  2. PURReader:

    I’m not sure you read the PUR correctly. As far as I can see, External Connectors are no longer needed for external contractors. The right is included with the server license. So, you don’t need to buy neither EC and CAL, except if you want to use the Exchange 2013 Enterprise CAL (in this case you have to buy Standard + Enterprise CAL for each external user).
    The only missing information is how much will the server license price increase, now that Microsoft also dropped the "Standard" editions.

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