First, let me clarify some information I presented in the June 16 edition of Exchange Administrator UPDATE about the Enterprise Vault product from kVault Software (KVS). Enterprise Vault does use SQL Server (for directory and file tracking), but its main store is NTFS. KVS also supports a wide variety of storage mediums (such as HSM) to specifically avoid problems with scalability. I had incorrectly reported these points in my column. For more information about KVS, visit its Web site.

Last week, Microsoft released the long-awaited bundle and pricing information for Exchange 2000 Server. Exchange 2000 is licensed on a server and client access basis. In other words, you need to have a license for every server that you operate, and every client must have a Client Access License (CAL) to connect to a server. A client can use a CAL to connect to any version of Exchange Server because it's simply a piece of paper. You don’t have to install any software on a client PC before you connect to Exchange, but to be legal, you do need the CAL.

Exchange 2000 comes in three flavors: Exchange 2000 Server, Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server, and Exchange 2000 Conference Server. Exchange 2000 Server is similar to the standard edition of Exchange Server 5.5 and meets the needs of most organizations. It includes the most common connectors (SMTP, X.400), but the Information Store (IS) in this version is limited to one mailbox database and one public folder database, neither of which can exceed 16GB.

Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server comes with a complete set of connectors including those for Lotus Notes and IBM PROFS. This version supports Windows clustering, which requires Windows 2000 Advanced Server for 2-way clustering. In the future, Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server will support 4-way clusters running on Win2K Datacenter Server, but Microsoft is still working out the details. You also need Enterprise Server to take advantage of IS partitioning, which lets you create multiple storage groups (SGs) with up to five databases in each SG. The third version, Exchange 2000 Conference Server, is required only if you want to use the new online conferencing capabilities.

The prices range from $699 for Exchange 2000 Server to $3999 for Exchange 2000 Enterprise server. Although licensing and upgrade arrangements differ from country to country, customers who purchased CALs through an enterprise agreement receive free CAL upgrades. Other arrangements, such as the BackOffice CAL Upgrade Advantage package, also result in free CAL upgrades. New CALs are $67 each, with upgrade CALs priced at $34. Contact your local Microsoft office to check details of specific upgrade arrangements and prices, including the offers to migrate from other messaging systems. Microsoft will include a version of Exchange 2000 Server in a future version of BackOffice Small Business Edition. The company is still working on pricing information for Exchange 2000 when used by application service providers (ASPs) and expects to announce this information later this summer.