Office 365: Setting up your Windows PC to support SharePoint Online management shell

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  1. Install Windows Management Framework 3.0 in your computer by downloading it from the below mentioned link.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34595

  1. Click on the download button on the link above and you will get a list of files to download as shown in the image below. Choose the one that best suits your operating system. In my case I installed KB2506143

                               For 32-bit operating system choose: x86

                              For 64-bit operating system choose: x64

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3. Once you’re done downloading the appropriate file go ahead and install it in your computer. You will be prompted for a system restart to complete the installation.

4. The next step would be to install the “SharePoint Online Management Shell “module, please download that from the below mentioned link.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35588

5. Click on the download button on the link above and you will get two files to download as shown in the image below. Choose the one that best suits your operating system.

                For 32-bit operating system choose: x86

                For 64-bit operating system choose: x64

26. Once you’re done downloading the appropriate file go ahead and install it in your computer. You won’t be prompted for a system restart this time.

7. After that’s done, Click Start–>All Programs–>Check for SharePoint Online Management Shell.

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8. Open “SharePoint Online Management Shell”, and type the below mentioned command to connect to your SharePoint Online subscription and hit enter.

Connect-SPOService -Url https://vigx-admin.sharepoint.com -credential     vigganesan89@vigx.onmicrosoft.com

Note: Please note that the account which you’re using here should have SharePoint Online administration access. Else you won’t get the desired result

9. Where URL is the URL of your “SharePoint Online admin center “and the credential is your Office 365 account name and password.

Note: Please check the SharePoint Online admin center screenshot below, you can find the admin center url in the address field

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10. Once you hit enter you will get a dialog box as shown below prompting for your Office 365 user name and password. Please go ahead and enter that and click on ok and be patient.

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11. If the command succeeded it won’t return anything, else it will yell at you with bunch of errors (that’s the funny part about PowerShell!!!) .Here in my case, the command succeeded and hence it didn’t return anything.

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12. Now in order to confirm whether you have successfully logged into SharePoint Online management shell, please go ahead and run the “Get-SPOSite” command and see if it returns the list of all SharePoint Online sites as shown in the image below.

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Finally we are done with the task of setting up a SharePoint Online Management Shell environment.

Thanks for reading. Happy SharePointing!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Search Service application components in SharePoint Server 2013:

 

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As you’re all aware ,there has been a major change in the search architecture on SharePoint Server 2013 when compared to SharePoint server 2010 and in this post I’ll  be discussing on the six different search service components in SharePoint 2013 .It’s very important that all these components are running fine without any issue for the Search service to function seamlessly and surface the results in the search page when a user executes a query in the search center.

Listed below are the six components available in SharePoint 2013 search service:

  1. Crawl Component
  2. Content processing component
  3. Indexing component
  4. Query processing component
  5. Analytics processing component
  6. Search administration component

 Now, let’s take a look on all these components separately …

1.Crawl Component :

This component takes care of crawling the content sources such as (SharePoint sites, websites & file shares etc…) and extracts the crawled properties and metadata and sends that to the content processing component.

2. Content processing component:

This component receives the information from the crawl component and then processes and sends it to the indexing component. It also interacts with the analytics processing component and is responsible for mapping crawled properties to the managed properties.

3. Indexing Component :

This component takes care of receiving the information from the content processing component and writes it to the search index. It also takes care of handling the queries and sends back the results to the Query processing component.

4. Query Processing Component:

This component handles incoming query requests and sends them to the indexing component for results. It also takes care of query optimization.

5. Analytics Processing Component :

This component takes care of analyzing what users are querying on and how they interact with the results.  This information is used to determine relevance, generate recommendations and also used for generating search reports.

6. Search administration Component:

This component manages administrative processes as well as changes to the search topology, such as adding or removing search components and servers.

Please note that these 6 search components can be distributed across multiple servers to provide high availability as well as improve performance as shown in the image below.

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Search service application databases:

  • Search Administration database :The Search Administration database hosts the Search service application configuration and handles crawl state orchestration, including the content source crawl history.
  • Analytics Reporting database :The Analytics Reporting database stores the results for usage analysis reports and extracts information from the Link database when needed.
  • Crawl Store database :The Crawl Store database stores the state of each crawled item and provides the crawl queue for items currently being crawled.
  • Link database :The Link database stores the information that is extracted by the content processing component and the click through information.

Thanks for reading this post. Happy SharePointing!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Office 365 Usage reporting:

Office-365-Cloud-Logo.pngUnderstanding how people in your organization are using Office 365 is an important step in driving more usage and ultimately getting the utmost value from your investment in Office 365. In regards to this Microsoft has recently introduced the new reporting dashboard feature in Office 365 admin center which gives the usage reports for SharePoint, One Drive for Business, Skype for Business and Yammer, which give IT greater visibility into usage across these services in Office 365.

Now let’s take a look at what you can find in these usage reports,

  • Activity dashboard (also called reporting dashboard)—Provides you with a high-level overview of how many people in your organization are using Office 365. Each service in the suite, such as Skype for Business and Exchange, has its own tile that surfaces key activity data, making it easy for you to get a quick understanding of the activity within that service. To view detailed information by service or by individual user, simply click the specific tile or use the drop-down menu at the top of the reporting dashboard.

  • Email activity report—Enables you to understand email usage, such as send, receive and read activity. It also enables you to monitor trends in email traffic, and can be especially helpful in scenarios such as user migration.

  • Office activations report—Shows which users who have been assigned an Office 365 license have signed into Office 365 on at least one device, including a breakdown by device type. This report helps you identify users who have been assigned a license but have not yet activated it, so you can provide assistance as necessary.

  • SharePoint site usage report—Provides you with storage consumption details across all your SharePoint sites. The report helps you see activity across sites, how much storage is available per site and how the sites are being used for file storage.

  • One Drive for Business usage report—This report helps you understand storage and sharing activity across One Drive for Business, including number and size of files stored, in aggregate and per user.

  • Skype for Business report—Shows Skype for Business usage, with details such as minutes spent in a Skype Meeting and with breakouts on peer-to-peer activity such as IMs and calls, meetings organized and meeting participation.

  • Yammer report—Provides details on Yammer engagement—breaking out Like, Read and Post activities.

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 Details you can act on:

All reports provide you with both aggregate and user-level information, so you can effectively plan training and communication that helps your users to take full advantage of the potential of Office 365.

All reports also provide information for different time frames: 7 days, 30 days, 90 days and 180 days. You can export all reports into CSV format and open them with a tool like Excel to quickly filter or pivot the data for further analysis.

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 While the reports do provide the ability to track usage at the individual user level, IT admins will only have access to information they already have permission to access in the service. Microsoft will also be rolling out a new privacy feature that allows you to anonymize user-level information before sharing it with other stakeholders in the company.

Global admins can turn on privacy settings by going to : Settings > Services & add-ins > Report.

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 You can find detailed log information that allows you to audit and track specific user and admin activities in the Compliance Center.

Thanks for reading this post.

 

Uninstallation of ADDS Role in Windows server 2016 Technical preview 4:

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Followed to my previous post on ADDS installation on Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview 4, I’ll be discussing on how to uninstall ADDS on this post. Ideally uninstalling the ADDS role means that you’re demoting your domain controller to be a normal server. Now, let’s take a look on the steps involved in demoting a domain controller.

  1. Open server manager and click on the “Manage” button and choose “Remove Roles and Features “as shown in the image below.

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2. On the next screen, click “Next “.

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3. On select the destination server pane, select the server from which you want to remove the ADDS role as shown in the image below.

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4. Choose the server and click next, in this scenario I have only one server in the server pool and this is the one that’s running the ADDS role. Click next and it will list you the list of roles.

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5. Choose “Active Directory Domain Services “role as shown above and click next. This will give you a window asking you to remove the dependent features for ADDS. Please go ahead and click on “Remove features “as shown in the image below.

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6. You will get a window as shown below. Please go ahead and click on “Demote this domain controller “

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7. This will take you to a screen as shown below, please go ahead and click on next. You need to choose the appropriate option.

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8. I’m choosing the first option which says, “Force the removal of this domain controller “and then click on next.

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9. On the next screen please validate all the roles running on the domain controller and click on the checkbox which says, “Proceed with removal “and click next.

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10. The next screen will be prompting for a new password .Please go ahead and specify the new password and click next.

Note: This password will be different from the normal domain administrator password.

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11. The next screen will ask you to review the changes made and once you’re done validating it please go ahead and click on the “demote” button to demote this server as shown in the image below.

Note: Clicking on the view script button will generate the script that ran on the background when this activity was performed .You can use this script for future purpose also if you want to perform a ADDS uninstallation on any other domain controller .

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12. Finally once this is done your server will be restarted and then you will notice that this server is no longer a domain controller. You can confirm this on the logon screen itself where you would just see the logon username and not the domain name prefixed to it. In my case below I’m logging in as the administrator and you won’t see the domain name prefixed before.

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13. Before uninstalling the ADDS role, this is how the logon screen looked. Check the logon screen below. You can see my domain name “VIGNESH” prefixed before the logon name.

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Demystifying SharePoint server licensing:

 

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So this post is to explain how SharePoint server licensing works. To be honest I often used to stumble around trying to understand how this entire thing works and after doing a lot of research in the internet I was able to understand how the entire licensing part works and hence I wanted to write an article on that hoping that it would help you all to have a better understanding about SharePoint Server licensing.

With that being said, I’ll be discussing about SharePoint server licensing in 2013 and Office 365 and how things are expected to change in SharePoint server 2016 as well. So before we get started let me go ahead and define certain terminologies that I’ll be using often in this post so that you can have a better understanding about those terms when I’m using that in this post later.

Internal Users: Users who are the licensee’s or its affiliates’ employees and on-site agents and contractors (i.e. Users who are present in your domain and have an account in AD)

External Users: Users who are not the licensee’s or its affiliates’ employees or on-site agents or contractors (i.e. Users who are not present in your domain and don’t have an account in AD).

Intranet: Website hosting content, information, or software that is accessible inside the firewall to internal users only (i.e. Within the company’s firewall).

Extranet: Website hosting content, information, or software that is accessible inside the firewall to internal users and named external users only.

Internet: Website hosting content, information, or software that is publicly accessible to all users (internal and external). (i.e. Outside the company’s firewall)

CAL:   Client Access License.

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Microsoft licenses SharePoint server 2013 using the Server/Client Access License licensing model.  The Server/CAL licensing model requires both the server license on which it’s (i.e. SharePoint application) installed as well as the CALs for the users (or devices) that access the application. To be more clear you need license for each server on which SharePoint is installed and apart from that you also need licenses for the users (or devices) that access SharePoint. However, please note that the CAL requirements may vary based on user status and CALs are generally required for internal users to access all SharePoint server software. The only exception to this is, internal user access to Internet websites (public-facing websites such as e-commerce SharePoint sites) .In these cases, the SharePoint CAL requirement is waived. On the other hand, this is not the case for external users, you don’t need to purchase any extra license for external users and the server license by itself will take care of their access. Please note that there can be couple of ways to leverage access to external users to access SharePoint such as (Anonymous authentication, Forms-based authentication etc. …However, an external user who still has a user account in your AD won’t be considered as external as per SharePoint sever licensing model if he’s using his AD account to access SharePoint). So it’s very important to choose external users access carefully or else you might end up paying licenses for them as well.

I would also like to touch base on the “devices” part which I mentioned earlier so that you have an understanding about how that would have an impact on SharePoint licenses. Let’s consider a scenario where you’re accessing your SharePoint site from your workstation and at the same time you’re logged into the SharePoint site from your smartphone as well, then that’s two devices accessing the same site. SharePoint doesn’t consider that as a single license, its takes it as two different devices accessing the same site. This is where the device licenses come into picture. So it’s very important that you choose the correct licensing model.

User CALs:

With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every user who accesses the server to use services such as file storage or printing, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access. Purchasing a User CAL might make more sense if your company’s employees need to have roaming access to the corporate network by using multiple devices, or from unknown devices, or if you simply have more devices than users in your organization.

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Device CALs:

With a Device CAL, you purchase a CAL for every device that accesses your server, regardless of the number of users who use that device to access the server. Device CALs may make more economic and administrative sense if your company has workers who share devices, for example, on different work shifts.

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The following diagram depicted below illustrates whether a user needs a SharePoint CAL or not. “Restricted” refers to content stored inside the firewall for internal access and possibly limited, identified external user access. “Public/Internet” refers to content stored outside the firewall for broad, unrestricted access.

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Now, let’s take a look at certain scenarios which can give us a better explanation on how the licensing part works for internal and external users.

Scenario A: Intranet

Description: Internal users accessing content, information, or applications inside the firewall through a local area network (LAN) or the Internet. No other users have access.

Example: A professional sports team sets up an intranet site that the manager, coach, and players access. It is also used for support staff such as the physiotherapist who is an on-site contractor rather than an employee, and for CAL requirements, an internal user. A news reporter trying to access the SharePoint Server site is denied access.

Licensing:

Server: One SharePoint Server 2013 license per running instance of the software.

Internal Users:  One CAL/user.

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As shown in the above image, the internal users (the team’s managers, coach, players, and on-site therapist) each must be assigned a CAL. This requirement does not change if the same users are accessing the intranet site remotely from the team’s offices. Given that this is an intranet site, no external user access is permitted.

Scenario B: Extranet

Description: An organization extends access to otherwise restricted content inside the firewall to a limited number of identifiable external users.

Example: The Elm University publishes research papers that are available to specific educators from other universities (external users). This situation is an intranet plus extranet scenario.

Licensing:

Server: One SharePoint Server 2013 license per running instance of the software.

Internal Users: One CAL/user.

External Users: SharePoint CALS are not required; the server license permits external user access.

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As shown in the above image, the internal users (the school’s faculty and staff) each must be assigned a SharePoint CAL. This requirement does not change if the same users access the site remotely while they are off-campus. The identifiable external users (educators from other universities) who are permitted to access otherwise restricted content inside the firewall do not require SharePoint CALs, because external user access is permitted under the server license. No other users are permitted to access the site.

Scenario C: Internet

Description: Internal users make content, information, and applications publicly available to users via the Internet (for example, on a public-facing company website). A mix of internal and external users anonymously accesses the site, including employees. No SharePoint CALs are required. External user access is permitted under the server license, and SharePoint CAL requirements for internal users are waived for access to content, information, and applications made publicly available via the Internet.

Licensing:

Server: One SharePoint Server 2013 license per running instance of the software.

Internal Users: CALs are not required.

External Users: CALs are not required.

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As shown in the above image, access is unrestricted. The only license required is the server license. SharePoint CALs are not required to access content, information, and applications made publicly available to users via the Internet (that is, not restricted to intranet or extranet scenarios). The same licensing applies for an e-commerce site where access is not strictly anonymous. Again, SharePoint CALs are not required to access content, information, and applications made publicly available to users via the Internet.

Licensing has been simplified in SharePoint 2013. SharePoint Server 2013 collapses internal and external use under a single licensing offering/model.

In addition to the points that we discussed above, there are certain classifications in the CAL that we need to be aware of as this will be very helpful in choosing the right version of SharePoint with the right features for your company. The CAL can be classified into two types 1.  Standard CAL and 2. Enterprise CAL. Check the table below to know the difference between Standard and Enterprise CAL.

Standard CAL You get features such as sites, communities, content and search in Standard CAL.

 

Enterprise CAL You get features such as such as Access Services, InfoPath Services, Power View, PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, Reporting services and Visio Services.

 

SharePoint Standard CAL:

The Standard CAL delivers the core capabilities of SharePoint

Sites: a single infrastructure for all your business websites

Communities: an integrated collaboration platform

Content: enterprise content management (ECM) for the masses

Search: people and expertise search, visual previews, visual best bets

 

SharePoint Enterprise CAL:

The Enterprise CAL delivers the full capabilities of SharePoint

Sites: a single infrastructure for all your business websites

Communities: an integrated collaboration platform

Content: ECM for the masses

Search: standard search features plus entity extraction, video search, item recommendations

Business solutions (includes Access Services and InfoPath Services)

Business Intelligence for everyone (includes Power View, PerformancePoint Services, Excel Services, and Visio Services)

Check this link to have a detailed overview of all the features available in both the versions (i.e. Enterprise and Standard): _ http://www.fpweb.net/sharepoint-2013/compare-sharepoint-server-standard-enterprise/

Alright, I guess we have talked enough about SharePoint Server 2013 licensing, now let’s a look on how things are expected to change in SharePoint 2016.

SharePoint Server 2016 licensing:

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For the most part the licensing is expected to remain the same in SharePoint server 2016 as well. You have the same server CAL license and user (or devices) licenses in SharePoint Server 2016 as well and this hasn’t changed. However, as you all are aware, SharePoint 2016 has a major change in terms of its architecture .We have a new concept called as “MinRoles” that was introduced in SharePoint Server 2016 .MinRole enables SharePoint Administrators to limit a SharePoint server to a specific role (i.e. front end, application server, distributed cache and custom). So using MinRole you can make a SharePoint server only do the specific role which it’s expected to do based on the role it has been assigned to .This will definitely lead to a downside in terms of licensing as using MinRole the server will only do a specified task .Let me explain this with an example ( If you have your current SharePoint 2013  application server in your production farm running search , user profile and MMS etc. ….you won’t be able to run all these services in a single app server once you migrate to SharePoint server 2016 .You have to assign a specific server only for SharePoint search ) .So obviously this will lead to  purchasing extra licenses if you need to utilize more services .

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Also in terms of the necessary software prerequisites, SharePoint Server 2016 requires Window server 21012 R2 or Windows Server 2016 as the underlying operating system and also coming to the backend SQL server you need 64-bit edition of SQL Server 2014 SP1 or SQL Server 2016. Another important point to note is, SharePoint 2016 doesn’t have any foundation version. You get only standard and enterprise version. Please note that there are few changes that has implemented in SQL Server 2016, you have a new component called PolyBase that has been introduced in SQL Server 2016. This mainly takes care of combining both relational data and non-relational data within SQL Server itself. You can also run queries on external data in Hadoop or Azure blob storage using this. The key factor to note here is that, “PolyBase “can run only on a single instance in a SQL Server. If you have multiple instances of SQL running on the same server then you may not able to run “PolyBase” on all the instances. So please the “PolyBase” configuration accordingly.

SharePoint Online and Hybrid:

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Let’s see how licensing works on SharePoint Online and Hybrid, it’s a known fact that SharePoint Online has become a buzzword over a period of time and we can see a lot of organizations moving their on-premises SharePoint workload to cloud. However, I’ve noticed a lot of SharePoint professionals as well as project managers having a confusion on how licensing works for SharePoint Online and what has to be done for a successful SharePoint Hybrid implementation.

So just to clear the confusions about this, SharePoint on-prem as already discussed is server/CAL license based whereas SharePoint Online is subscription based. As you all know, most of the cloud services today are subscription based and their licensing is totally different from on-prem platforms. Azure and Office 365 are good examples for cloud based platforms that works based on subscriptions. However, there is a minor difference in terms of subscription between these two products (i.e. Office 365 & Azure) and I’ll be discussing about that in a different post.

With Office 365 (SharePoint Online) you get two types of plans, i.e. Plan 1 and Plan 2. Please check this link below to have a proper understanding of the features involved in both these plans.

https://products.office.com/en-us/SharePoint/compare-sharepoint-plans?legRedir=true&CorrelationId=d1645733-7515-401f-904a-f75983522c29

It’s up to you and your business to choose the appropriate plan that best suits your business need.

 

Now, before discussing SharePoint hybrid licensing, let’s take a look at the traditional on-premises scenario. Historically, SharePoint on-premises customers were required to purchase a server license for each SharePoint server, with a client access license (CAL) required for each user or device that will be accessing those servers. There was also an optional Enterprise CAL, sold on a per-user base for accessing additional features (Ex: SSRS).

When cloud services are added to the mix, this relatively straightforward scenario becomes more complicated. As a subscription-based service, SharePoint Online is bought through a monthly per-user fee, instead of licensing.

Roughly around 2 years ago, Microsoft attempted to simplify licensing for hybrid SharePoint deployments by allowing Office 365 user licenses to be used as CALs for accessing SharePoint resources that reside on-premises. In other words, organizations that had both local and cloud-based SharePoint resources would have to purchase server licenses for each on-premises SharePoint server, but would not be responsible for purchasing CALs, as long as every user accessing the on-premises SharePoint resources had SharePoint Online as part of their Office 365 subscription.

But things have changed a bit now, if an organization runs SharePoint in its data center and decides to extend its deployment to the Office 365 cloud, verifying that the local environment is properly licensed is the first thing to do. As previously mentioned, each SharePoint server requires a server license. Unlike CALs, there is no “enterprise” upsell for the servers. Organizations must simply purchase a SharePoint server license, and any required dependency licenses, such as for Windows Server and SQL Server.

The organization will also have to purchase CALs for each person or device that will access SharePoint. Microsoft offers Standard CALs and Enterprise CALs. The Standard CAL provides access to SharePoint’s core capabilities, such as sites, communities, content management and search.

Organizations that need SharePoint capabilities beyond those covered by the Standard CAL should purchase an Enterprise CAL — in addition to the Standard CAL — for each user or device that will access those resources. The Enterprise CAL provides access to features such as Power View or Excel Services.

With the Hybrid scenarios in place now, choosing the correct license/subscription might be bit confusing. To make this simple, please take a closer look at SharePoint Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 once again. Plan 1 for SharePoint Online is more or less matched to the features that are delivered through a Standard CAL, while SharePoint Online Plan 2 is closely matched to the SharePoint Enterprise CAL. There are some minor differences between the Standard CAL and SharePoint Online Plan 1, just as there are some minor differences between SharePoint Online Plan 2 and the Enterprise CAL, but mostly these hosting plans are closely matched to their on-premises counterparts.

To be more precise, let’s consider a scenario where you want to implement Hybrid search in your environment and you’re confused to choose the appropriate plan. In such case, take a look at the type of search that has been implemented in your on-premises SharePoint Farm. Is it normal search or Enterprise search? For the most part I bet it would be Enterprise search, then in such case you need to assign Plan 2 license in SharePoint Online for all the end users as only then they would be able to see the search results from SharePoint on-premises or vice versa. To know more about Hybrid search, please click this link to take a look on my blog post about Hybrid search.

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Last but not least, let’s take a look at licensing for SharePoint foundation. With SharePoint foundation, you don’t need to purchase any SharePoint license for SharePoint Foundation as it’s a free version. The only license you would need is the Windows server license on which SharePoint Foundation would be installed. You would also not require separate license for SQL Server as SharePoint foundation installs SQL Server express by itself while running the set up file.

Note: As already mentioned above, SharePoint 2016 doesn’t have any foundation version. You either get the Standard version or the Enterprise version.

Finally, to conclude, as SharePoint professionals it’s very important that you have a proper understanding of how licensing works in SharePoint on-premises and SharePoint Online as choosing the correct version/license is vital for any successful SharePoint implementation. If your organization uses SharePoint just to dump the documents and the usage is also very minimal where no enterprise features would be used, then choose the standard version. On the other hand, if you’re organization uses SharePoint for collaborating with customers /other stakeholders and also the dependency of enterprise features is more then choose the enterprise version. As far SharePoint Online/Hybrid is concerned choose the appropriate plan for the end users that best suits the business need. When it comes to migration where you would be migrating from on-premises version to the other one (preferably from 2013 to 2016) please make sure that considering the licenses for other supporting software’s also (i.e. SQL Server & Windows server).

Thanks for reading this post. Happy SharePointing!!!!