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SharePoint 2010 Editions and Licensing Models

SharePoint’s editions and licensing options depend on what you use, how you deploy it, and where it’s hosted. You would think by now most of us would have a somewhat clear idea of what you get when you purchase SharePoint 2010, but I, for one, admit to some confusion. Here's my attempt to sort through Microsoft's websites and make sense of what the company says.I still haven't gotten the "where it's hosted' info part yet, however. Still, I think I've managed to hack away at some of the marketing speak that often accompanies SharePoint.


SharePoint Foundation is aptly named because it provides the base for SharePoint 2010 Standard and SharePoint 2010 Enterprise. SharePoint Foundation is free and is supported on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 SP2. Here’s a list of what you get in SharePoint Foundation (see Editions Comparison at Microsoft's site to learn more about each feature):

SharePoint Foundation



Browser-based Customizations

Business Connectivity Services

Business Data Connectivity Service

Claims-Based Authentication

Client Object Model (OM)

Configuration Wizards

Connections to Microsoft Office Clients

Connections to Office Communication Server and Exchange

Cross-Browser Support

Developer Dashboard


Event Receivers

External Data Column

External Lists

High-Availability Architecture

Improved Backup and Restore

Improved Setup and Configuration

Language Integrated Query (LINQ) for SharePoint

Large List Scalability and Management

Managed Accounts

Mobile Connectivity

Multilingual User Interface


Out-of-the-Box Web Parts

Patch Management

Permissions Management

Photos and Presence

Quota Templates

Read-Only Database Support

Remote Blob Storage (SQL Feature)

REST and ATOM Data Feeds

Ribbon and Dialog Framework

Sandboxed Solutions

SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Health Analyzer

SharePoint Lists

SharePoint Ribbon

SharePoint Service Architecture

SharePoint Timer Jobs

SharePoint Workspace

Silverlight Web Part

Site Search

Solution Packages

Streamlined Central Administration

Support for Office Web Apps

Unattached Content Database Recovery

Usage Reporting and Logging

Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint Developer Tools

Visual Upgrade

Web Parts


Windows 7 Support

Windows PowerShell Support


Workflow Models


SharePoint 2010 Standard includes SharePoint Foundation features and adds these features:

Ask Me About

Audience Targeting

Basic Sorting

Best Bets

Business Connectivity Services Profile Page

Click Through Relevancy

Colleague Suggestions

Colleagues Network

Compliance Everywhere

Content Organizer

Document Sets

Duplicate Detection

Enterprise Scale Search

Enterprise Wikis

Federated Search

Improved Governance

Keyword Suggestions

Managed Metadata Service


Metadata-driven Navigation

Metadata-driven Refinement

Mobile Search Experience

Multistage Disposition

My Content

My Newsfeed

My Profile

Note Board

Organization Browser

People and Expertise Search

Phonetic and Nickname Search

Query Suggestions, "Did You Mean?", and Related Queries


Recent Activities

Recently Authored Content

Relevancy Tuning

Rich Media Management

Search Scopes

Secure Store Service

Shared Content Types

SharePoint 2010 Search Connector Framework

Status Updates

Tag Clouds

Tag Profiles


Tags and Notes Tool

Unique Document IDs

Web Analytics

Windows 7 Search

Word Automation Services

Workflow Templates



SharePoint 2010 Enterprise includes the features in SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint 2010 Standard and adds these features to the mix:


Access Services

Advanced Content Processing

Advanced Sorting

Business Data Integration with the Office Client

Business Data Web Parts

Business Intelligence Center

Business Intelligence Indexing Connector

Calculated KPIs

Chart Web Parts

Contextual Search


Data Connection Library

Decomposition Tree

Deep Refinement

Excel Services

Excel Services and PowerPivot for SharePoint

Extensible Search Platform

Extreme Scale Search

InfoPath Forms Services

PerformancePoint Services

Rich Web Indexing

Similar Results

Thumbnails and Previews

Tunable Relevance with Multiple Rank Profiles

Visio Services

Visual Best Bets


Again, to learn more about each feature, see this side-by-side comparison chart at Microsoft’s SharePoint 2010 website. Hovering over each item displays a description that explains what the feature does. 

A quick note: Microsoft groups SharePoint features into six categories or “capabilities”: Composites, Sites, Content, Search, Communities, and Insight (that is, respectively, add-ons/connectors to other Microsoft products and tools; websites; content you and users put on the site; how you find that content; collaboration features; and business intelligence). For more information on the features in the six capability areas see Microsoft's SharePoint Features page

Licensing SharePoint

You can use SharePoint 2010 to set up intranet, extranet, and Internet sites.  SharePoint 2010 Standard and SharePoint 2010 Enterprise are licensed depending on how you will use SharePoint.  There are two ways to use it, and thus two licensing models:

  • Intranet sites: Server/Client Access License model
  • Extranet/Internet sites: Server-only model

Intranet sites. Intranet sites are licensed using a Server/CAL model.  SharePoint Server 2010 is required for each running instance of the software, and CALs are required for each person or device accessing a SharePoint Server.  There are two licensing models for intranet sites:

1.      Standard CAL:  Delivers “core” capabilities: Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Composites (excluding Access Services and InfoPath Services).

2.      Enterprise CAL: Delivers “full” capabilities: Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Composites (includes Access Services and InfoPath Services); Insights (includes PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, and Visio Services).

Note that the Enterprise CAL is additive: To access the Enterprise edition features, a person/device must have both the Standard CAL and Enterprise CAL.  For more details on the specific features in the Standard and Enterprise CAL, again, see Edition Comparison.

Extranet and Internet sites. Extranet and Internet sites are licensed using a Server-only model—no CALs are required. 

  1. SharePoint 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard: Delivers the capabilities of the SharePoint 2010 Standard CAL—Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Composites (excluding Access Services and InfoPath Services)—for use on an extranet or Internet site. Microsoft aims this server license at small and mid-sized companies, and limits deployment to a single domain and related subdomains.
  2. SharePoint 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise: Delivers the capabilities of the SharePoint 2010 Enterprise CAL—Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Composites (includes Access Services and InfoPath Services); Insights (includes PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, and Visio Services)—for use on an extranet or Internet site. Microsoft notes that this server license also includes the rights to FAST Search for use in Internet or extranet scenarios.



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