Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Licensing

Posted on Feb 26, 2014 in Technical  | No comments

With the release of Dynamics CRM 4.0 Microsoft has significantly changed their licensing model. The following information is a summary of the new facets as we currently understand them.

Server Licenses

There are 3 flavours of Dynamics CRM 4.0 server as follows:

  • Workgroup Edition – This version is limited to 5 licensed users and is designed to be installed on Small Business Server. There is no multi-tenancy (multiple organization) support in this edition.
  • Professional Edition – This version is for single organization deployments (i.e. no multi-tenancy) but has unlimited users.
  • Enterprise Edition – This version includes the multi-tenancy support as well as some features that allow Dynamics CRM to scale better in large deployments such as role-based services and multiple-server instances.

Client Access Licenses (CAL)

The CAL situation has become somewhat more complicated with CRM 4.0. Not only are there the normal variations for per-Device and per-User but there are now 3 flavours of CAL:

  • CAL – With no decoration to the name, this is the normal read-write client license required by all users of the system who wish to read and write data.
  • Limited CAL – The “limited” here is meant to imply “read-only”. Whereas in CRM 3.0 read-only users did not require a license, a “limited” CAL is now required. Note that this is in contravention to the statements in Microsoft’s own Dynamics CRM 4.0 Planning Guide which clearly states that a read-only client does not consume a CAL (don’t believe everything you read).
  • Full-use CAL – Despite the tricky name this is not what you might expect, a normal read-write license, but in fact is an upgrade to a Limited CAL for use when a read-only user needs to write as well.

Careful observation will reveal that a regular CAL is the same price as a Limited CAL + a Full-User CAL, so there is no penalty for starting with a read-only license and migrating to a read-write license at a later time.

External Connector Licenses

Dynamics CRM 3.0 had 2 licensed elements: server and client, but Dynamics CRM 4.0 includes a new element – the external connector. An External Connector is needed when a number of users are going to connect to the CRM system to read or write data by way of another system. 5 Limes is often called upon to created SharePoint widgets and web pages that extract data from or deposit data into Dynamics CRM. In CRM 3.0 we would have used a single CAL to achieve this, but in 4.0 an External Connector license is required. At the time of writing the a read-write External Connector license is roughly 5 times the price of a single read-write CAL and the read-only External Connector is roughly 6.6 times the price of a single read-only CAL. So if you have 5 external users or fewer you are better off licensing them individually, but if you want to connect Dynamics CRM 4.0 to your web site you will need the External Connector.

Server & CAL Packs

There is an option to buy Professional Server and 5 CALs at the same time, but there is really no difference in the price compared with buying them separately (at least there is negligible difference in the RRP).

A note on Action Pack Subscriptions

The version of Dynamics CRM that is made available through the Microsoft Action Pack is the Workgroup Edition. This edition is limited to 5 named users. In CRM 3.0 it was possible to purchase additional CALs when more users needed to access the system but in CRM 4.0 that is no longer possible. So if you are planning to deploy Workgroup Edition (through an Action Pack or otherwise) you should be aware that your 6th user is going to be expensive.