Exchange Licensing FAQ
The following FAQ provides answers to common questions about licensing Exchange.
Transitioning between Exchange Server versions
No, the Outlook client license was no longer included with any Exchange CAL after Exchange Server 2003, and must be purchased separately for Exchange Server 2013. The Exchange Server 2013 Standard CAL provides the rights to access e-mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks through either Outlook Web App (OWA) or through a mobile device via Exchange ActiveSync.
These features evolved into “Retention Policies” in Exchange Server 2013 and now include the additional flexibility of applying policies to individual emails, in addition to folders. An explanation of how these features have evolved across versions:
- Exchange Server 2003: Standard CAL included Mailbox Manager.
- Exchange Server 2007: Standard CAL included managed default folders and Enterprise CAL included managed custom folders.
- Exchange Server 2010: Standard CAL included enhanced features for managed default folders and Enterprise CAL included enhanced features for managed custom folders.
- Exchange Server 2013: Both Standard CAL and Enterprise CAL now include retention policies.
- Exchange Online: Standard CAL includes default retention policies and Enterprise CAL includes custom retention policies.
Exchange Server 2013 will continue to leverage database availability groups – a collection of mailbox servers that use continuous replication to update database copies, communicate to manage failures, and can provide automatic failover to recover from a variety of issues that can affect individual components, databases, servers, and data centers. Exchange Server 2013 also provides managed availability – internal monitoring and recovery-oriented features that are tightly integrated to help prevent failures, proactively restore services, initiate server failovers automatically or alert administrators to take action. The focus is on monitoring and managing the end user experience rather than just server and component uptime to help keep the service continuously available. For more information, see Exchange Server 2013 Prerequisites
Server pricing and licensing
No. Both the Standard and Enterprise CALs can be used with either server edition.
One server license is required for each running instance of Exchange Server 2013 – whether it is installed natively on a physical machine or a virtual machine. Learn more about virtualization support
No. External users will not require CALs to access Exchange Server 2013; access rights to standard Exchange functionality by external users is now included with the Exchange Server 2013 license itself.
Customers may still license Exchange Server 2013 with either per-user or per-device CALs. If several users share a desktop and do not individually access the Exchange server from other locations, such as their home PCs, then they can be licensed with one device CAL.
Customers can get the In-Place Archive and In-Place Hold features through Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Server, and they can get advanced security through Exchange Online Protection. All other premium features are only available in the Enterprise CAL or E-CAL Suite.
Yes – customers are charged annually for subscriptions to Exchange Online Protection to protect their users from viruses and spam, and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in Exchange Online (collectively “Services”). Customers may also choose to purchase the Exchange Enterprise CAL without Services if they do not need DLP or anti-virus and anti-spam protection.
If purchased in Open, the Exchange Enterprise CAL is available either with or without Services. If purchased in Select, customers have two options. They can buy the License (L-only) and get the CAL without Software Assurance or Services. Or if they want Software Assurance (L&SA), they must also buy the Services.
Exchange online pricing and licensing
Exchange Online is licensed via a subscription model in which each user needs a User Subscription License (USL). Three types of subscriptions are available: Exchange Online Kiosk, Exchange Online Plan 1, and Exchange Online Plan 2. These subscriptions can be purchased on their own or as part of an Office 365 plan that includes SharePoint Online, Lync Online, and Office ProPlus.
No. Resource mailboxes, including Room Mailboxes and Equipment Mailboxes, are special mailbox types that are provided free of charge as part of Exchange Online. There is no limit to the number of conference room subscriptions.
No. Shared mailboxes don’t have login credentials, so they are only accessible by licensed users who have been granted delegate access (full mailbox permission, send as, or send on behalf of). Note that Exchange Online Kiosk users don’t have delegate access, so they cannot access shared mailboxes.
Shared mailboxes have a smaller quota than regular mailboxes (10 GB), and do not include a personal archive or legal hold capabilities. If you need these features, then you can purchase either Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2 and assign it to the shared mailbox.
There is no limit to the number of shared mailboxes.
You must assign the shared mailbox to either an Exchange Online Plan 1 plus Exchange Online Archiving subscription, or to an Exchange Online Plan 2 subscription in order to enable In-Place Archive. A shared mailbox can’t be used to archive email for an organization, except for those messages that are sent from the shared mailbox or received by the shared mailbox.
An In-Place Archive can only be used to archive mail for a single user or entity for which a license has been applied. Using an In-Place Archive as a means to store mail from multiple users or entities is prohibited. For example, IT administrators cannot create shared mailboxes and have users copy (via CC or Transport rule) a shared mailbox for the explicit purpose of archiving.
You must assign the shared mailbox an Exchange Online Plan 2 subscription in order to put it on In-Place Hold.
Yes, these mailboxes require a subscription. The subscription type can be Exchange Online Kiosk or Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2.
Public folder mailboxes are available in Exchange Online Plan 1 and Plan 2. They are not available for Exchange Online Kiosk users.
No. Using journaling, transport rules, or auto-forwarding rules to copy messages to an Exchange Online mailbox for dual-delivery purposes is not permitted. To preserve messages, you must put user content on In-Place Hold, or journal the messages to an external journal target.
There are no limits on the duration of retention policy, you can set the retention duration based on your business needs.
The In-Place Archive feature in Exchange Online Plan 2 provides unlimited storage of email data for one user. The In-Place Archive has a default quota that is large enough to accommodate reasonable use, including the import of one user’s historical email. In the unlikely event that a user reaches this quota, a call to Office 365 support is required. For more information on archiving, see the Exchange Online Service Description
Microsoft provides PST capture for self-service bulk loading of historical data into the In-Place Archive. End users or administrators can also use Outlook to import items from PSTs into the In-Place Archive. Additionally, if you are still planning your migration to Office 365, you may import the PST content to on-premises mailboxes prior to moving the mailboxes to Exchange Online. There are no associated fees for any of these methods of loading historical data.
You have several options:
- You can export that user’s data to a PST file and store it on-premises. Learn more.
- You can retain the data in that user’s mailbox by placing the user on In-Place Hold and marking the mailbox as inactive, as described here.
It isn’t necessary to maintain a user subscription license for the inactive mailbox.
- If you have a hybrid deployment of Exchange Server and Exchange Online, you can migrate the mailbox back on-premises. Learn more about hybrid deployments here.
Exchange Online Kiosk is designed for users who require fewer messaging features because they do not have dedicated computers. The subscription provides 2 GB of mailbox space per user and web-based access through Outlook Web App. Certain features are disabled for Kiosk users, including inbox rules, public folder mailboxes, site mailboxes, shared mailboxes, and delegate access to other mailboxes. For more information, see the Exchange Online Service Description
Yes, all Exchange Online subscriptions, including Exchange Online Kiosk, allow organization-wide capabilities such as In-Place eDiscovery, journaling, custom retention policies, and premier anti-spam and anti-malware filtering via Exchange Online Protection.
Users with Kiosk mailboxes are protected by the same uptime SLA and geo-redundancy protection as other Exchange Online mailboxes.
In order to place a Kiosk mailbox on In-Place Hold, you must upgrade it to Exchange Online Plan 2 or purchase the Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Online add-on.
No. When a Kiosk subscription is assigned to a user, IM and presence integration in Outlook Web App are deactivated, even if the user has a Lync Online subscription. In addition, because Exchange Web Services access to Kiosk mailboxes is blocked, calendar-based presence updates in Lync will not occur for Kiosk workers, and e-mail OOF messages will not be displayed. Users who require these capabilities should be assigned an Exchange Online Plan 1 subscription.
Yes. In the Microsoft Online Services Portal, you can assign the user a new subscription and remove the old one. This will automatically update the user’s capabilities in Exchange Online. The procedure for purchasing new subscriptions and cancelling old ones varies; check your specific license agreement for details.
Yes. In the Microsoft Online Services Portal, you can assign the user a new subscription and remove the old one. This will automatically update the user’s capabilities in Exchange Online. For the smoothest transition, you should remove any In-Place Holds from the user’s mailbox prior to assigning them the new subscription. The downgrade behavior is as follows:
- Mailbox data: All data in the user’s mailbox and archive is preserved. If the user has a total of more than 50 GB of data in the primary mailbox plus the archive, the conversion will succeed, but the mailbox will be out of compliance from a licensing perspective until the excess data is deleted by the user.
- In-Place Hold: If the mailbox is on In-Place Hold, the hold remains in place. The mailbox will be out of compliance from a licensing perspective until the In-Place Hold is cleared. If you are using Directory Sync, you can clear the In-Place Hold by updating the user's Active Directory object, otherwise you must call support to have it cleared.
- Hosted voice mail: This feature is automatically disabled for the user as part of the transition.
The procedure for purchasing new subscriptions and cancelling old ones varies; check your specific license agreement for details.
Yes. In the Microsoft Online Services Portal, you can assign the user a new subscription and remove the old one. This will automatically update the user’s capabilities in Exchange Online. For the smoothest transition, you should delete the user’s inbox rules and SMS notifications prior to assigning them the new subscription. The downgrade behavior is as follows:
- Mailbox size: If the size exceeds 2 GB, the action will fail.
- Inbox rules: Existing inbox rules are left in place but they are not editable. You can call Office 365 support and have them delete the user's rules on your behalf in order to bring the mailbox into compliance with licensing terms.
- SMS notifications: Existing SMS notifications are left in place, but new ones can’t be created. You can call Office 365 support and have them delete the user’s existing SMS notifications in order to bring the mailbox into compliance with licensing terms.
The procedure for purchasing new subscriptions and cancelling old ones varies; check your specific license agreement for details.
If you are installing an Exchange 2010 server solely to act as a bridge between the legacy Exchange Server 2003/2007 on-premises environment and Exchange Online, you can request a “Hybrid Edition” server key to license the server.
Yes. You can use your Hybrid Edition server key to license multiple servers, provided that the Hybrid Edition server is used within the guidelines described above.
No. Exchange Server 2013 includes native hybrid capabilities, so you can connect your Exchange Server 2013 organization to Exchange Online without a Hybrid Edition server. The Hybrid Edition is only for organizations running Exchange Server 2007 or Exchange Server 2010. Exchange Server 2010 customers can also continue to connect their organizations directly to Exchange Online without an additional Hybrid Edition server if they are updated to the latest Service Pack, or can choose to install an Exchange Server 2013 hybrid server. Exchange 2003 customers can continue to use Exchange 2010 Hybrid Edition servers to connect to Exchange Online with the latest Service Pack.
You can use PowerShell to enter the new product key.
You can point your MX record to Exchange Online in a hybrid deployment. In this scenario, Exchange Online Protection (EOP) provides anti-spam and anti-malware filtering on inbound mail for the on-premises users, so these on-premises users require EOP subscriptions.
Your Exchange Online tenant (and Exchange Online Archiving mailboxes if applicable) first needs to be fully updated to the new release of Exchange Online, based on Exchange Server 2013, before you should install Exchange Server 2013 servers on-premises. Exchange Server 2013 setup does include a check to help prevent your organization from getting to an unsupported state. Once your Exchange Online tenant has been updated or if you are connecting to a new Exchange Online environment for the first time, you can install Exchange Server 2013 once the necessary pre-requisites have been met.
If you are installing an Exchange 2010 server solely to act as a bridge between the legacy Exchange Server 2003/2007 on-premises environment and Exchange Online, you can request a “Hybrid Edition” server key to license the server. If you are installing an Exchange Server 2013 server solely to act as a bridge between the legacy Exchange 2007/2010 on-premises environment and Exchange Online, you can also request a “Hybrid Edition” server key to license the server.
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