License Management in 2013

One of the few questions that I have regularly been asked by just about every customer I have ever worked with is about licensing. Unfortunately I don’t have an MS Degree in the topic, as these days it seems you need to have one! It’s far too easy to get conflicting advise as to how and what features can be used with what license. E.g. Can a non-PWA CAL see Project Server reports?

Fortunately in the 2013 SharePoint and Project Server release Microsoft have given us what I consider to be the best kind of answer; a technical one! You can’t get more accurate that a error message stating that you do not have a license to view this content!

Read More: Introduction to User License Enforcement in SharePoint Server 2013

Finally I can tell customers that those PWA CALs can be used for *this*, and the rest of your users just need *that*!


Enabling Project User License Mapping

The link above talks about what you need to know to setup the new License Mapping feature, but here’s a quick summary;

1. Enable the feature via PowerShell;


2. Create a mapping to your Active Directory “Team Members” (or other) group;

$map = New-SPUserLicenseMapping -SecurityGroup "DOMAINPS Team Members" -License Project

3. Finally add the mapping to the farm

Add-SPUserLicenseMapping -Mapping $map


Note: By completing step #1 above you will DENY all users access to Project and other SharePoint features (including Enterprise Features and Office Web Apps), that is until you run steps #2 and #3 for all the license types which you need to map.


Effects of Project License Mapping

Now the interesting part, given two users: Me and my favourite resource Test User what when I am the only licensed user (a member of Team Members AD group), what is restrictions are enforced on Test User?

First and foremost, when Test User tries to open PWA this is what he gets:


Good stuff, but what about if I assign some work to Test and share my site with him?


Now this is promising, what about Risks / Issues, etc?



Looks like that permission only restricts PWA access, this is actually exactly what I wanted (to be clear; exactly what many customers have asked me for in the past).

Lastly what about Reports?


Looks like Test can get to BI centre (via URL directly not PWA) once it’s shared!


The Catch?

I honestly don’t know.

I suspect that there may be one as all previous advice I have had from Microsoft is that, quote; ‘Any user who accesses any Project data must be licensed.

However as I said before, technical answers (true / false style) make me rather more comfortable about the truth of a particular question as opposed to conflicting advice.



Do not take this blog as licensing advice, I do not work for Microsoft (that was a long time ago) and the views expressed here are entirely my own.

Speak to your Microsoft Reseller or Account Manager if you have any specific licensing questions.

Share and Enjoy !