We're currently considering SharePoint for our internal intranet expanding out later to use some of the neat project and team features in there.

It isn't cheap... I've got the huge comparison spreadsheet and for us, the standard CAL is probably okay for everything apart from search.

When using the publishing site (which is the key part we want to use), the bulk of the content is held in the "Pages" document library (i.e. in a SQL database). I assume (all a bit new to this) that the search that comes with free WSS v3 system cannot search SharePoint sites. Mainly because on the comparison document is says that "Enterprise content sources ... SharePoint sites ..." is standard or enterprise.

For our 100 users, SP2007 server & 100 standard CALs is about $14k (£8.5k). Microsoft Search Server 2008 is an additional $14.5k which I find very hard to justify.

So the question is as in the title. Can the free 2008 Express version search SharePoint sites, specifically the contents used for pages in the Publishing CMS system?

Cheers, Rob.

PS. Does every user need a CAL or only editors?


You seem to be confused with the different version offerings (not surprising).

The MOSS Standard license includes both the CMS Publishing Site functionality and all of the functionality of Search Server which can index all of your SharePoint content plus file systems and other sources. There is no need to purchase another product.

Yes, every user accessing the server needs a CAL. I'm not a licensing expert so don't know if an Office CAL is enough, I think you need a SharePoint CAL. Call your local Microsoft representative and ask to be sure.

The search functionality in the standard CAL can definitely return results from multiple site collections. See Which SharePoint technology is right for you? and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 products comparison download (which is a little out of date) for more details.

Further background

When SharePoint 2007 was launched, there was SharePoint Server for Search, SharePoint Standard and SharePoint Enterprise. Last year, the infrastructure update for SharePoint was released. This added several features such as federated search to SharePoint Standard and Enterprise.

Also around this time SharePoint Server for Search was renamed to Search Server 2008 and a new product, Search Server Express 2008, was released. Both of the Search Server products are targeted towards companies that don't want to deploy SharePoint (yet).

If you deploy SharePoint, rest assured that provided the infrastructure update and/or Service Pack 2 are installed, you will have all of the functionality of Search Server plus much more. Search Server is a subset of the functionality of SharePoint Server Standard.

As an aside, you might find this book useful in showing what can be done with search.

  • PS: The CAL exist already if the user is using a Microsoft OS and Microsoft Office. Jul 17 '09 at 9:05

To specifically answer your questions:

  • yes, Search Server 2008 Express can search sharepoint sites
  • every user needs a CAL

To elaborate on this though - when the comparison document talks about "sharepoint sites" it is talking about sites outside your current site collection. If you are hosting your intranet within one sharepoint site collection, you will be able to search it with the built in WSS search. If you want to have multiple SP site collections, then the built in search won't work.

  • We'll most likely be having one SP site collection but multiple sites under the main site for the various teams publishing information, e.g. HR, IT, Finance etc. From what you're saying, I think we'll be fine unless we wanted to create a completely different site collection. The requirement isn't there for that at the moment. Cheers, Rob. Jul 20 '09 at 15:17

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