Licensing procedures for ESXi

Hi There,

I got a question from a client regarding ESXi licensing and I'd be thankful if some could clarify it for me.

This specific client has an environment with 03 ESX4 Servers managed by one VCenter. Furthermore, they also have 6 ESXi4 as single servers with free license. The idea is to manage all the servers ESX4 and ESXi4 via VCenter.

The question is:

1. How can the client manage, beyond the ESX4 Servers, also the 6 ESXi through VCenter?

2. Do they need to buy licenses for the ESXi hosts replacing the free licenses? What licenses?

3. Do they need to buy licenses for VCenter? What licenses?

Thanks in advance.


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3 Replies

You will need to purchase 6 licenses for the ESXi Servers which match the vSphere Edition used with the other servers. If they are using essentials, you will need to upgrade all licenses since Essentials is limited to 3 Hosts. In this case, you will need a new vCenter, too.

Kind Regards,

Gerrit Lehr

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Kind regards, Gerrit Lehr If you found this or other information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful".

Hi Garret,

Thanks for your reply.

Just to clarify a little more, lets suppose the following situation:

They have a licensed environment of VSphere Enterprise and want to add 6 ESXi host to be managed by VCenter.

Considering that each of those ESXi has 2 Quad Processors (Sockets) and that the licenses are selled by processor, they would need to buy 12 Licenses of VMware vSphere 4 Enterprise.

Is that correct?

Thanks once again.


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If you are planning to use the Enterprise features for those ESXi Servers then you will need 12 ESX Enterprise Licenses (for the 12 CPU's)

But if you are not going to need all those features - then you can do well with the Standard/Advanced Licenses

If those ESX Enterprise Servers are already managed by a vCenter server (and it is a standard vCenter License) then you will be able to manage your ESXi machines as well, with no extra cost.

Virtualization Architect & Systems Administrator

Maish Saidel-Keesing • @maishsk • • VMTN Moderator • vExpert • Co-author of VMware vSphere Design
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