Key Facts on OCS 2007 Licensing

The details of licensing OCS 2007 (including R2) and all it’s functionality can be complex. When you are planning a roll-out, it is helpful to understand some basics.

First, there are 5 types of licenses you may or may not need depending on your situation:

  1. OCS Server Licenses (server licenses are done per server regardless of the roles installed). Enterprise licenses are only needed for servers within a pool; all other servers are covered under the Standard License (including Edge servers).
  2. Client Access Licenses (CALs).
  3. Office Communicator 2007 Client Licenses (e.g. OC 2007 or OC 2007 R2)
  4. Office Live Meeting 2007 Client Licenses (LM 2007)
  5. Public IM Licensing (PIC).  This is required to establish IM functionality with MSN, Yahoo!, and AOL contacts.

CALs are not the same as client software licenses (e.g. the Microsoft Office Communicator license); rather they grant a user (client) the right to connect to an OCS server and use a set of features. There are 2 types of CAL’s (Standard and Enterprise) which represent the ability to use different feature sets (see below).

The Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 (including R2) license is available as a Standalone License (volume licensing available), as part of the Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 Suite, and the Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 Suit. See How to Buy Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 for more information. See below for how to check the installation source of a particular Communicator installation.

The Live Meeting client is used for the conferencing features and is free and can be downloaded from Microsoft. See the newly (Nov 2009) launched Microsoft “Updates Resource Center” of OCS to download the latest client(s).

Public IM Connectivity (PIC) licenses enable users for IM  and Presence functionality with the 3 public IM systems MSN, Yahoo!, and AOL. As per this announcement on October 1, 2009:

  • A PIC license is no longer necessary for communication with AOL contacts, and Yahoo! licenses were reduced by 50%.
  • Before October 1 2009, PIC licenses were bought on a per-user, per-month subscription and were added into the Volume Licensing agreement.  It worked out to about $1-$2 per-user/per-month.

Standard CAL versus Enterprise CAL

This link provides an excellent summary of the Standard versus Enterprise features. A good rule of thumb is any feature related to Enterprise Voice or Conferencing requires an Enterprise CAL.

Key Notes:

  • CAL’s are not per specific user, and the features set out in your license agreement are not enforced by the server or client. You require the correct number Enterprise verse Standard CALs depending on the number of users using the respective feature sets.
  • You can control feature use through OCS AD settings (as shown in the OCS administrative console) or through client side Communicator group policy.
  • Licenses are additive. Meaning if you want the enterprise features, the total cost of a CAL license is the Standard + the Enterprise.

How Much do the Licenses Cost?

The following page on Microsoft’s OCS web site lists the current retail prices for the Server and CAL licenses: http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/us/how-to-buy.aspx.

Always check with a Microsoft Representative if you have any licensing questions in regards to your situation.

Checking the License Channel for a Specific Client Installation

With the availability of easy trial download’s and different possible installation sources, it is valuable to know what source distribution a particular installation came from. A quick way to show the license channel that a particular install comes from is to use the Inside OCS Client Version tool: http://blog.insideocs.com/2009/09/30/communicator-and-live-meeting-client-version-tool/.

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4 comments to Key Facts on OCS & Communicator 2007 Licensing

  • Leandro pereira do Santos

    I’ve another problem. When adding an user, he doesn’t appear in the OCS Contact Manager.msc. For that reason we can’t move the user to the correct branch office.

  • Leandro pereira do Santos

    I will execute the operation that you sugested in the first item, thanks. I also will verify if we used any special language characters. One thing that I forgot to say is that the server is in english, but the clients are in portuguese.

  • Curtis Johnstone

    I have seen problem #1 and the issue was that the Communicator distribution that was being used was a trial download. If you completely uninstall the trial version and install a distribution that is licensed (e.g. from a volume license download), you shouldn’t have that problem.

    A quick way to show the license channel that a particular install comes from is to use the small Inside OCS Client Version tool (script). On the client running Communicator, point Internet Explorer to: http://www.insideocs.com/Tools/ClientVersions.html and run the script. In addition to retrieving the version it will retrieve the installation source (e.g. “installation source: Volume License’). This is based on the ProductID’s listed at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc161930.aspx.

    Also, there was a bug (identified back in June 2009) where the license expiration data of an evaluation edition of Communicator 2007 R2 was being calculated incorrectly. This was fixed by downloading an update to the client. I don’t think this is your problem, but see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/972042 for more information.

    Not sure about #2 – sounds like a possible language pack problem. Do the contacts that appear blank have any ’special’ lanugage characters in them?

  • Leandro pereira do Santos

    I having some problems with Office Communicator 2007:

    1. With some users appears the message of expired license. By uninstall and reinstall the program solves the problem temporarily. After some time the same problem occurs.

    2. Some users with a problem where your contacts in OCS appear blank without the green icon. And so are unable to communicate.

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