I just found this in the vSphere 5 documentation in
So does that mean I cannot have a virtual vCenter server because I am unable to power on anything once my environment is powered off completely for some reason? There also seems no possibility to install the license service standalone as it was possible in VI 3.
Essentials does come with vCenter. WIth that said, I see no reason why, if you connected diretly to an ESXi Host, using the vSphere Client, you would not be able to power cycle any guest.
you may see no reason as to why a VM cannot be powered on, but thats why I cited the documentation. And I think I know the reason:
It is because with Essentials the vRam licensing is enforced. Without vCenter this is not possible (yet), although VMware should at least allow to power on a few GBs worth of vRam without to check the license in vCenter.
Just to give some Feedback:
I opened a support call, support told me he tried this setup and could power on VMs. I also did a quick test, installed ESX to test hardware, licensed host with Essentials key (no vCenter at all) and could succesfully power on a VM.
Support tries to clarify what that part in the documentation does mean or wether is has to be corrected.