Microsoft Sharepoint Services vs Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (aka MOSS)

Recently received some questions from a customer who thought their IT department had provided them with Microsoft Sharepoint Server.  While evaluating a new product which has some specific Sharepoint integration requirements, they began wondering how to tell which version they had.  And they wanted to know what the differences are.

It turned out they had only deployed the basic Microsoft SharePoint Services 3.0    You can confirm the version by browsing to your Sharepoint web interface and clicking on the upper right help icon (blue circle with question mark), the screen that comes up shows the product version.

Per the “licensing” section at the bottom of this Microsoft URL, Sharepoint Services is a freebie included with Windows 2003 Server.  A good feature comparison of Microsoft
SharePoint Services 3.0 vs Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (aka MOSS) is available at this (non-microsoft) URL.

For most organizations, the biggest differences are that the full MOSS product adds in:

  • Active Directory integration – this means when uploading a doc, the document owner can set controls on which people/orgs can view in MOSS.  Sharepoint Services does not offer this level of control.
  • Document Workflow – users can configure options to have a “draft” version of document sent to team members.  And another workflow could automatically route the “final” version of the document when it is checked in.  More complicated workflows can also be created.  This could be very useful for complex versioning or even invoking a document publishing tool which converts the original document to alternate formats.
  • Better search engine.
  • Business Data Catalog and Excel Services – these are basically the same functions which Microsoft was offering in the Performance Point 2007 product.  Microsoft acquired this set of features and initially offered it as a separate product.  Microsoft later incorporated the features directory into Sharepoint Server 1010 eliminating the need for customers to purchase and integrate this add-on.

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Customer considering the full data analysis and dynamic data publishing features should be aware that Microsoft may require your count of Client Access Licenses (CAL) for SQL Server to match your count of CALs for MOSS.  In most document repository scenarios, this should be an issue for most customers.  But if you are making extensive use of the BI Dashboards features you may want to verify your SQL licensing requirements.


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