Microsoft announced this week that it is making a change to its Core CAL (Client Access License) bundle -- something of interest to its business customers who purchase enterprise products.
Microsoft will be adding licenses for Microsoft's Lync unified communications product and its Forefront Endpoint Security product to the Microsoft Core CAL. The changes will take effect on August 1, 2011.
Supposedly, this is the first time in 10 years that Microsoft has made a modification to the Core CAL.
A CAL is a Microsoft licensing vehicle. Microsoft has user CALs and device CALs; different Microsoft server products require different CALs. CALs are big business for Microsoft, as they are required for each user (or device) accessing a particular server.
Currently, the Core CAL, priced at $80 per user, provides client-access rights for Windows Server CAL, System Center Configuration Manager, SharePoint (Standard) CAL and Exchange (Standard) CAL. After the change, the Core CAL, priced at $89 per user, will include the Windows Server CAL, System Center Configuration Manager, Forefront Endpoint Protection, SharePoint (Standard) CAL, Exchange (Standard) CAL and Lync (Standard) CAL.
On August 1, Microsoft will drop the price of its Enterprise CAL (Step Up), as it will be removing the Lync Standard CAL from the bundle. The price is set to drop from $94 per user to $86 per user. Many customers require both a Core CAL and an Enterprise CAL for their users. The combo pack (the ECAL Suite Stack) will remain priced at $175 per user.
The addition of Lync and Forefront Endpoint to the Core CAL is meant to encourage more customers to use these new products. It's also a way to potentially attract more users to sign up for Microsoft Enterprise Agreement volume licensing program. Lync, the successor to Microsoft's Office Communications Server product, is an all-in-one business instant-messaging, audio/video conferencing and VOIP server. Forefront Endpoint Protection is the successor to Forefront Client Security, and is Microsoft's enterprise security client.
Microsoft announced the coming Core CAL changes at its Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) conference this week. Another MMS announcement of possible interest to Microsoft volume licensees is the availability of the Release Candidate test build of the System Center codename "Atlanta."
Atlanta is a configuration monitoring cloud service that aims to help customers to reduce downtime and improve the performance of Microsoft SQL server deployments. The service monitors the configuration of SQL deployments to help database administrators proactively avoid configuration problems and to resolve identified issues.
Atlanta, which is now known officially as System Center Advisor, will be available in the second half of calendar 2011, Microsoft officials said. (That's later than the Softies originally planned; last fall, Microsoft officials said to expect Atlanta to ship in the first half of this year.)
Microsoft has decided to make Atlanta/System Center Advisor available to Software Assurance licensees only.