A guide to the many planned versions of SharePoint 2010

Microsoft plans to launch at least eight SharePoint 2010 editions for SMBs, enterprise and the cloud.

On Monday, Microsoft announced that the beta version of SharePoint 2010 would be available in November. In true Microsoft form, this means Redmond will have a whole bunch of confusing editions. Eight have so far been announced. The list of eight in the photo below doesn't completely map to the editions list Microsoft made public on Monday. Microsoft added two new cloud versions.

Here's a breakdown of what each version is supposed to include.

SharePoint Foundation 2010 -- The basic SharePoint. Windows SharePoint Services is now Microsoft SharePoint Foundation. It requires Windows Server 2008 64-bit operating system with SP2 or later or Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit.

SharePoint Server 2010 -- adds collaboration features to the Foundation edition that allows it tie into data repositories outside of SharePoint (including Lotus Notes). Also adds more management features and supports more users. Successful SharePoint projects require better management, experts agree.

FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint --Takes SharePoint Server 2010 and adds the high-end search technology Microsoft acquired when it bought FAST Technologies for $1.23 billion in January, 2008. Features include contextual search (such as recognizing departments or geographies), ability to tag meta data to unstructured content, more scalability.

SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard Edition -- For SMBs looking to create Internet or intranet sites using the standard features of SharePoint Server 2010. For companies who want to host the server on premises.

SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise Edition -- Similar to Standard Edition, presumably with more scalability and management functions. An exact list of how this differs from the standard edition is hard to come by. (Ditto for a features list on how Internet Sites standard edition differs SharePoint Server 2010).

FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Business -- the FAST search engine is added on top of SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise. If you don't want to spring for the high end FAST search server, Microsoft will be releasing options for the enterprise to use Search Server 2010 and Search Server Express 2010. I would assume that by opting for these less scalable and less sophisticated search servers you will reduce the cost of new SharePoint 2010 server licenses.

SharePoint Online -- one of two cloud versions of SharePoint. Note that hosted SharePoint is already available from Microsoft via its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which combines hosted SharePoint with hosted Exchange. Microsoft counts more than 1 million users among those using some version of hosted SharePoint.

SharePoint Online for Internet Sites -- It isn't clear how this will differ from SharePoint Online, except a good guess is that it will support more online capacity. One of these cloud versions will be under the software-plus-services model, for companies that want some SharePoint sites to be hosted on premises, with some sites available via the cloud. The other will be a fully hosted option. Microsoft says that these options will be half the price as on-premises SharePoint because Microsoft will not require CAL licenses.

As for those expensive client access licenses, the SharePoint 2010 CAL will come in two flavors: the standard CAL is a client that has the basics of what you would expect and the enterprise CAL is the fatter client that adds analytics, hooks into Web services as well as Microsoft's other office clients.

Click to for bigger photo.

For more resources, take a look at:

A sample SharePoint 2010 Website

SharePoint 2010 forum

SharePoint 2010 Developer Center

SharePoint IT Pro Center

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