Exchange Server Hybrid License for Office 365 deployment

In classic scenarios organizations need a software license for each Microsoft Exchange Server they deploy, accomplished with access licenses for users or devices. With the modern cloud scenario’s using Office 365 or Exchange Online Services, each user for the service needs a User Subscription License. But what in hybrid scenario’s? Do you need a software license for your Exchange Server in hybrid mode?

Read time: 5 minutes

The answer to the question is ‘No, you do not need a license for your Exchange Server Hybrid’, but off course there are some restrictions.

Exchange Server Coexistence
Using Software Asset Management services or tooling, organizations might detect an Exchange Server edition called ‘coexistence’.

This is the Exchange Server Edition you will get for free when you deploy a hybrid Exchange environment through the Exchange Hybrid Configuration Wizard. You do not need a separate payed software license for this on premises Exchange Server. Even better, when you want multiple Exchange Hybrid Servers – and you want for availability reasons – you can use the same software license key for those multiple servers.

Using an existing server
If you are migrating your on premises e-mail and calendar functionality from Exchange to Exchange online, you can use your existing Exchange Server as your coexistence server. Hence, when you currently use Exchange Server 2010, you might even upgrade to Exchange Server 2016 Standard without buying a new software license.

Hybrid licensing deployment restrictions
When Microsoft gives you something for free, they either want something back or set restrictions. The last one is the case for Exchange Server licenses for Office 365, Microsoft 365 and Exchange Online hybrid deployments:

  • The Exchange Server software can only fulfil the CAS / cabinet and Hub role
  • The Exchange Server cannot host any mailboxes (they should be in the cloud)
  • Exchange Server 2016 is the highest available version (current to-date)
  • You must be a paying cloud customer with an Enterprise subscription (Office 365 E1/E3/E5, Microsoft 365 E3/E5, Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2)

When you comply with the restrictions, additional Exchange Servers for a hybrid scenario deployment do not need additional Exchange Server licenses.

Be sure
Are you not sure if your Exchange hybrid deployment meets Microsoft licensing rules? Don’t take the risk, be sure. Ask one of our cloud licensing experts to help you.

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