Licensing VM (windows server) ESXI host


So we recently get a datacenter license for two ESXI host that will allow us to install as many VM with windows server we want.

Now, I checked vsphere but well there is nowhere to put a license for this, so I'm guessing is just like a contract that will said these 2 ESXI Host with serial number, are allowed to install as many VM. But then how do I activate the Windows Server SO that are inside of each VM?  I've been reading in a lot of parts that this should be automatically but is not or at least I haven't found anywhere how to do it.

I did check our Microsoft VLSC and find out recently we got a bunch of keys for Server 2008, 2008R2, 2012R2, 2016 and 2019 for all editions. My guess is that these keys are for activating the SO in the VM but another question raised.

Each pair of keys has a counter 0/45 and are MAK. So that means we can only activate 90 servers 2008, 2008R2..... and so on? Wasn't it suppose to be unlimited amount of VM?

Any help appreciated it.

1 Reply

Hi usuarioITgen and welcome to the community!

While this question is not VMware related it will help to answer it for people trying to license guests in this environment Smiley Happy

First you need to ensure you have Windows DataCenter licenses for every core in the ESXi in the cluster.

You don’t enter this anywhere in VMware unless you are using templates to deploy VMs in which you can enter the MAK in the Customisation Spec ( Otherwise you enter the MAK inside the Windows OS once you have built it so that you can activate the license against Microsoft.

Another option is to use a KMS which means that you don’t need to enter the key in the guest OS and they activate against the KMS (or AD if using Windows 2016 and AD-based activation).

The KMS key is a different one than the MAK but should be in your portal as well.

Dont worry about the activation count. You can get this easily extended by Microsoft. There is a token number given so as long as you have licensed every core on every ESXi host then you can deploy away.

Does that make sense?