If our license server and VC are running in guest (VM) and that host is shutdown. I have had problems where HA will fail as it can not contact a license server to start up VM's. Is the only way around this problem to have a dedicated external license server or use host based license?
it will work for 14 days - basically everything should work other than bringing up a new esx host or adding it to Virtual Center - to use HA you do need a license server -
One of the early VMware Communities Roundtables (http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/talkCast.jsp?masterId=19367) covered just this issue. There were several approaches but one that I use is to keep a copy of my license server on a laptop that I use for just these occasions. The License server is the one thing that absolutely should be fault tolerant in some way. Other ideas were to run VC/License Manager within VMware Server on a different physical host. Which is also not a bad solution.
The key is that the license server needs to be available for many features to work. VC does not need to be available unless you want to configure the features.
Edward L. Haletky
VMware Communities User Moderator
Author of the book 'VMWare ESX Server in the Enterprise: Planning and Securing Virtualization Servers', Copyright 2008 Pearson Education.
CIO Virtualization Blog: http://www.cio.com/blog/index/topic/168354
As well as the Virtualization Wiki at http://www.astroarch.com/wiki/index.php/Virtualization
No HA will function - I have tested in the lab with a virtualized VC Server and License Server where I powered down the Host running the VC VM and started up without a problem on the other host - HA continues to function - you can not make changes to clusters during the outage - from the installation guide
"Adding or removing hosts from a cluster. You cannot change host membership for the current VMotion, HA, or DRS configuration"
I think this needs to be re-visited. We had a san failure this morning. We lost the hosts that hold the vCenter 4 server. Once I bounced the hosts and re-established san connectivity, I was unable to restart any VM's becuase the license server could not be contacted!!
I was able to point the host that held the vCenter server to another vCenter server we have for testing, but I don't know what I would have done short of that. This seems to be a huge failing in the design. We run 64 cpu's and 300 vm's.
This was a helpful bit of info from vmware support
1. If the server containing the VM, which in turn hosts the VC is ESX 3.5, then, a temporary single host license file, containing sufficient number of CPU's for the server that we are trying to license has to be created. Then this server has to be licensed as single host. This will allow you to power on the VM's on that server, and inturn the VC.
2. If the server containing the VM, which in turn hosts the VC is ESX 4.0, then, a serial number, containing sufficient number of CPU's for the server that we are trying to license has to be used. Then this server has to be licensed as single host. This will allow you to power on the VM's on that server, and in turn the VC.
3. Now, once the VC is up, and since you have ESX 3.5 and ESX 4.0 hosts, you would have to create a license file containing a license for VC and sufficient CPU's (contributed by all ESX 3.5 hosts put together), upload this license file to the license server, and then perform a Start, Stop and Re-read of the license file. You would also have to map the License Server to the VC 4.0. In addition you would have to use the serial numbers for licensing your ESX 4.0 hosts.