SharePoint’s a big product. Like, really big! The feature set is vast and the features available differ wildly according to the edition you have. Different combinations of features may be required to give the end result you desire, so how do you choose what version you need for your requirements?
Let’s start with a little background. There are two ways to license SharePoint:
This post will focus on the different options for the On Premise model. Check back later for a future post about the Cloud offerings. In addition, this post does not cover the additional licence costs related to making a SharePoint site publically available.
So, when using the On Premise model of SharePoint, there are three editions:
SharePoint Foundation is often referred to as the ‘Free edition’. It is included as part of Windows Server 2008 (SP2 or R2 SP1). If your users are licensed to access the Windows Server, they’re licensed for SharePoint Foundation.
SharePoint Standard requires a server licence per SharePoint server in the farm and then a Client Access Licence (CAL) per user.
SharePoint Enterprise builds on Standard. It uses the same server licence and you still need your Standard CAL’s for your users but you also need an Enterprise CAL for them too. This is referred to as an additive CAL as you need both to get the full feature set.
So they’re the different options available but what’s in them? Well I’ll start by explaining what’s in SharePoint as a whole. SharePoint is made up of 6 capabilities:
Includes the editing features and the ability to create and manage sites such as Intranets, Portals, Extranets, Web Sites and Collaboration Sites
Covers the social networking features like blogs and wikis, my sites and profiles
Includes the document management features such as version history, retention policies, metadata and shared content types
Covers all the search capabilities within SharePoint
Allows the creation of business intelligence dashboards, KPIs, and reporting functionality
Enables power users to build simple ‘no-code’ applications using a combination of features such as Business Connectivity Services, custom workflow and InfoPath Forms Services
Now we know the three editions available and the high level capabilities SharePoint offers so how do we choose which version for our requirements? Well it’s not that simple. Each of the capabilities covers a set of features that are split across the editions. We can’t say that for Document Management you must have Enterprise or for an Intranet you must have Standard – it’ll entirely depend on the set of features you specifically want to make use of.
This site is a Godsend and I probably visit it at least once or twice a day to double check the features available in each edition. It shows the features in each version and can be filtered by the capabilities listed above helping you find the features you’re after and see what edition you need.
The best advice we could offer when choosing an edition is to think for the future. If you’re planning on rolling out a feature in the future that requires a higher edition, it’s worth considering the benefits of getting it straight away. That said it’s a lot easier to upgrade a SharePoint installation than to downgrade.
So in summary, choosing the right edition is not an easy thing. Consider the features you’re after in each of the capabilities both right now and in the future and then use the edition comparison to see which edition fits the bill. *Shameless Plug* Obviously, if you need some help demystifying the feature or making sure you’re got the right edition, Core are happy to help! * End of Shameless plug*