This article will cover the licensing specifics of Microsoft Exchange Server 2019 and 2016. We’ll take a look at the available on-premises versions of Exchange Server, how they differ, and learn more about Exchange Server Client Access Licenses (CALs).
Exchange Server 2019/2016: Version Comparison
Microsoft Exchange Server is available in two versions: standard And enterprise, A separate license is required for each instance of Exchange Server installed on the physical or virtual server.
Exchange Server only supports x64 versions of Windows Server. It is recommended to deploy Exchange 2019 on Windows Server 2019 or 2022, either on a physical host or a virtual host (appropriately licensed).
Both versions have the same functionality except for the number of supported mailbox databases:
- Exchange Server Standard – supports up to 5 Mailbox database mounted on the same server. When using a DAG (Database Availability Group), both active and inactive copies of the mailbox database maintained by the server are taken into account. The recovery database does not participate in the computation. Maximum size of a database in standard edition 1 TB. should not exceed, If this size is exceeded, the mailbox database will be automatically unmounted (however, there is a solution https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/troubleshoot/administration/exchange-cannot-mount-database-larger-than-1024-gb,
- Exchange Server Enterprise – Support up to 100 Mailbox database including active and inactive copies. The maximum size of a database is 16 TB,
Exchange Server 2019/2016 licenses are forever. This means that you can use deployed Exchange indefinitely after Microsoft support ends.
You can find out the current version and version of Exchange installed using PowerShell:
Get-ExchangeServer | fl name,edition,admindisplayversion
In our example, you can see that
Exchange 2019 StandardEvaluation Has been deployed (you can use the Exchange Server trial version in evaluation mode for up to 180 days).
An upgrade of the Exchange edition from Standard to Enterprise is available (downgrade is not possible). When you perform a version upgrade on a mailbox server, you must restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service.
How to Enter Product Key in Exchange Server 2019/2016?
The same distribution is used to install both the Standard and Enterprise editions of Exchange Server. The difference in functionality is determined solely by the Exchange product key that you provide during installation.
You can enter your Exchange Server product activation key through the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) or by using PowerShell:
- Open the Exchange Admin Center in a browser by navigating to the following URL address:
- go to Server section;
- Find your Exchange host in the list of servers and click on enter product key button in the right pane;
- Enter your Exchange Server key at General tab;
- A message will appear: The product key is validated and the product id is created successfully. This change will not take effect until the information collection service is restarted,
- Restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service from
services.mscUsing console or powershell cmdlet:
You can also set up an Exchange Server product key using PowerShell. Open the Exchange Management Shell console or connect to your Exchange server remotely using PowerShell:
Set-ExchangeServer your_Exchagne_Server_FQDN -ProductKey XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX
Restart the MSExchangeIS service.
You can now check that your Exchange Server is now licensed:
Get-ExchangeServer your_Exchange_Server_FQDN | ft Name,Edition,ProductID,IsExchangeTrialEdition -Auto
Client Access Licenses (CALs) in Exchange Server
Every Exchange client that can use a mail server must have one Client Access License (CAL), You can purchase “per user” (Exchange Server User CAL) or “per device” (Exchange Server Device CAL) licenses. When choosing a license type, consider the specifics of your business.
You do not need to activate Exchange CALs on the client computer or on the Exchange Server host. This is a purely paper (legal) license that is required by the customer to use the Exchange Server features legally.
On-premises Exchange Server has two types of CALs: standard And Enterprise Cal, having quite a significant difference. Additional features provided by Enterprise Exchange CAL:
- journal decryption
- in-place archive
- multi-mailbox search
- in-place hold
- Information Security and Control (IPC): Transportation Security Rules, Outlook Security Rules, Information Rights Management (IRM) Search
Please note that in order to use the Enterprise license, you must also purchase a standard CAL.
Calculating Client Access Licenses (CALs) for Exchange Server 2019/2016
Let’s see how to find out how many CALs you need to license all Exchange Server clients in your network.
In Exchange Server 2010You can estimate the number of licenses required directly from the graphical Exchange Management Console, Information about the number of licenses required is displayed in organization summary section. In this example, 958 Standard CALs and 464 Enterprise CALs are required to license a customer organization.
In Exchange Server 2019/2016/2013You can use the following cmdlets to get the license information:
- Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicense – Allows you to obtain the names of the licenses in use in your Exchange organization;
- Get-ExchangServerAccessLicenseUser – Allows you to query data about CALs used by Exchange users.
You can get the exact license name using the Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicense cmdlet:
Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicense | ft -AutoSize
Copy the license name and list the mailboxes that require this license type:
Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicenseUser –LicenseName "Exchange Server 2016 Standard CAL"
Count the number of licensed mailboxes in this list:
Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicenseUser –LicenseName "Exchange Server 2016 Standard CAL" | Measure-Object | Select Count
A similar calculation has to be done for the Enterprise CAL.