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A new set of CAL Suite Bridge licenses will help organizations with Enterprise Agreements (EAs) transition to Office 365. Customers who currently license Microsoft's Core or Enterprise Client Access License (CAL) Suites organization-wide under an EA will be able to substitute a less expensive corresponding CAL Suite Bridge as they shift users to Office 365—branded hosted services. Shown here are the licenses included in the Core and Enterprise CAL Suites, the new Core and Enterprise CAL Suite Bridges for Office 365, and the Office 365 E3 plan, the most comprehensive plan that will be available at launch later this year.

The Core CAL Suite, pictured at the bottom, contains four licenses that give clients the right to access features provided by on-premises servers running several Microsoft server products. The Exchange Server Standard CAL (far left) licenses access to the e-mail, calendar, and other basic Exchange features; the SharePoint Server Standard CAL licenses access to collaboration, corporate portal, enterprise search, and document management features; the Configuration Manager Client Management License (CML) licenses access to System Center product's inventory, software distribution, and other management capabilities; and the Windows Server CAL licenses access to all the OS's built-in capabilities except for Remote Desktop Services and Rights Management Services (RMS).

The Enterprise CAL Suite, a superset of the Core CAL Suite, adds Enterprise CALs for Exchange and SharePoint, giving clients the right to access the high-end capabilities of both products that are not licensed by their respective Standard CALs. The Enterprise CAL Suite also adds both Standard and Enterprise CALs for Lync Server to provide rights to IM, presence, Web conferencing, and PC-to-PC calling; CMLs for an additional three System Center products for health monitoring, backup, and help desk; an RMS CAL to license Microsoft's content protection system, and two licenses to give clients the right to benefit from a variety of Forefront-branded security products.

An Office 365 E3 subscription (left half of illustration), provides access to hosted services built on Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync (top left). In part to ease licensing complexity for customers using both on-premises and hosted Microsoft technologies, Office 365 E3 also provides (during the life of the subscription) rights to access on-premises instances of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync (e.g., a Standard and Enterprise CAL for each). These on-premises use rights overlap with licenses provided by the Core and Enterprise CAL Suites.

The Core CAL Suite Bridge and the Enterprise CAL Suite Bridge (pictured on the right), although similar to their Core CAL Suite and Enterprise CAL Suite siblings, are only subsets since they do not include any of the on-premises licenses provided by the Office 365 E-level subscriptions. Microsoft created these new CAL Suite Bridges so customers purchasing Office 365 E-level subscriptions could maintain the same level of on-premises licensing as provided by Core and Enterprise CAL Suites without double-licensing the same technology.

CAL Suite Bridges are of greatest relevance to organizations that have already made an enterprise-wide commitment to either the Core CAL Suite or Enterprise CAL Suite through an EA. As such organizations move groups of users from Microsoft-based on-premises systems to Office 365 E-level hosted solutions, they can maintain their enterprise-wide CAL Suite commitment (and thus maintain discount levels and other benefits that go along with it) by making annual payments on a CAL Suite Bridge rather than the more expensive CAL Suite for the users who have migrated. CAL Suite Bridges can be acquired only through an EA. (At time of publication, prices for CAL Suite Bridges have not been announced.)