Windows IT Pro Community Forum, August 2011

Exchange Server Licensing

I just finished reading B.K. Winstead's "Exchange 2010 Architecture: Microsoft's Rajesh Jha Talks About the Future of Exchange" (June 2011, InstantDoc ID 129952). Interesting article. However, in each scrap of news regarding Microsoft Exchange Server, one item is never mentioned: the licensing structure.

We're a small business—about 300 users—running Exchange 2003. Clearly, it's time to get something newer. After reading all the great news about Exchange 2010, and how easy the transition is, I decided to work up a proposal to company management to upgrade our email system. That is when the ugliness of Exchange 2010 licensing hit me.

We're on a tight budget, so our goal was to gradually introduce Exchange into our domain. That would allow me to migrate our users from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 as we could purchase the CALs. The server license cost is negligible; the CAL cost is what counts. The problem is that as soon as I introduce the first Exchange 2010 box into the domain, I immediately have to purchase Exchange 2010 CALs for my 300 users! So, even if I move only 20 or so to the Exchange 2010 mailbox server, I still have to have 300 CALs for Exchange 2010. Grrrr…

Microsoft's reasoning is, “Since all incoming mail must go through the Exchange 2010 Client Access Server, it uses Exchange 2010. Therefore, the new CAL is required." What a cheap shot! It would have been easy for Microsoft—and a great service to its user base—to require the new CAL for each mailbox user. Then, I could have purchased the CALs as I moved the users.

Why don’t you ask your Exchange experts how that decision helps their users? I would be interested in their response. And, I would like to know how other Exchange users feel about it. Strangely, in all the hoopla about Exchange 2010 (most of it deserved), the only place I've seen any mention of this licensing gimmick has been in reader responses to bigger articles. Is it because nobody knows? Print my letter, and let’s see.

—Alf Flowers

Thanks so much for writing! I agree that we don’t publish enough on this topic. In the specific case you mention about needing CALs for all your users once you install Exchange 2010 in the environment, I’ll admit this is the first I’ve heard of this issue. I can see Microsoft’s point—with Exchange 2010 in the environment, all mail traffic should pass through that CAS, regardless of which Exchange server the mailbox is on—but it would be nice if Microsoft had some way to make allowance for the small business that’s trying to migrate slowly for financial reasons.

Our contributing editor for Exchange, Paul Robichaux, is very connected to the Microsoft Exchange team, and he also writes about licensing from time to time—as in “Exchange Server Licensing: (Some Of) Your Questions Answered” (InstantDoc ID 129766). I forwarded your message to Paul to see what kind of insight he could offer, and he ended up publishing his response in "A New Wrinkle in Exchange 2010 Licensing" (InstantDoc ID 136425). As of this writing, he is working on another follow-up article, so stay tuned!

—B.K. Winstead


Windows 8 Disillusionment

Hello, I just read Paul Thurrott’s "Windows 8 Preview: An Analysis of the First Public Unveiling" (InstantDoc ID 136340). I'm a fan of Windows, but I must say that since Windows Vista, Microsoft has gone wrong! Windows XP had a consistent interface across it, so why do Vista and Windows 7 have such complicated and incoherent interfaces? And now Microsoft is bringing the extremely confusing Windows Phone 7 interface to Windows 8? Why can't I simply have a splash screen with a picture? Do I need to see all that information across my UI all the time? Or does Microsoft think we need to constantly know about everything that's happening on Facebook and Twitter and the news? I'd rather have the freedom to breathe and look at an ambient background photo on my PC. If Microsoft is moving forward with this UI idea, I might have to say goodbye to Microsoft, and that would be a pity.

—Raul Leal


Deciphering PKI


I just read Russell Smith’s article, “Deciphering PKI” (May 2011, InstantDoc ID 129847). It's a terrific article, but I have a question: When does a client get a private key, which is used to encrypt the message digest, decrypt the message, and sign the message?

—Robert Miko┼éajczyk

Thanks for your message! I’m glad you found the article useful. If I understand correctly, you want to know when a client receives a certificate to work with secure messaging in a program such as Microsoft Outlook. Users must either request or be assigned a certificate for use with secure messaging. This is usually done through an internal public key infrastructure (PKI). The user’s email client then has to be configured to use the certificate for secure messaging. You can find more information about the infrastructure required to support secure messaging in Outlook 2010 in the Microsoft article "Plan for e-mail messaging cryptography in Outlook 2010" (

—Russell Smith


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