This article was contributed by Tony Redmond. On June 16, 2000, Microsoft announced details of Exchange 2000 Server licensing and packaging. The company plans to license Exchange 2000 on a server-and-client access basis. In other words, you must have a license for every server and a Client Access License (CAL) for every client you operate. Because a CAL is simply a piece of paper, you can use it to connect your client to any version of Exchange Server—you don’t have to install any software on the client PC to connect to Exchange, but you do need the CAL to ensure that the connection is legal.

Microsoft plans to package Exchange 2000 in three major versions:

  • Exchange 2000 Server: This is the most common version of Exchange because it meets the needs of most installations. Exchange 2000 Server includes the most common connectors (SMTP, X.400). However, the Information Store in this version is limited to one mailbox database and one public folder database, neither of which can exceed 16GB in size. This limitation is similar to the standard edition of Exchange Server 5.5.

  • Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server: This version comes with a complete set of connectors, including those for Lotus Notes and IBM PROFS. Enterprise Server also includes the ability to support Windows clustering, which requires Windows 2000 Advanced Server (Win2K AS) for 2-way clustering. Microsoft plans to allow 4-way clusters running on Windows 2000 Datacenter Server (Win2K Datacenter), but the company is still working out the details. You also need Enterprise Server to take advantage of Store partitioning and to be able to create multiple storage groups with up to five databases in each storage group.

  • Exchange 2000 Conference Server: This version lets you use the new online conferencing capabilities.
In addition, a future version of Microsoft BackOffice Small Business Edition will include a version of Exchange 2000 Server. Microsoft is still working on pricing information for Application Service Providers (ASPs) that plan to distribute Exchange 2000, but you can expect to see an announcement later this summer.

The announced US prices for new servers range from $699 for Exchange 2000 Server to $3999 for Exchange 2000 Enterprise Server. Competitive pricing is available for companies migrating from products such as Lotus Notes.

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. A new CAL costs $67, and each upgrade CAL is $34. Contact your local Microsoft office for details on specific upgrade arrangements and prices (including server upgrades and competitive pricing).

Exchange 2000 Server Release Candidate 2 (RC2) is currently available for download at Microsoft's Web site. The final version will be available later this year and will be the major focus at the Microsoft Exchange Conferences (MECs) in Dallas, Nice (France), Singapore, and Tokyo in October and November. For details on these upcoming events, including dates and registration information, visit Microsoft's corporate events Web site