Please see the following link which explains how to get a free ESXi license key.
It is also worth reading the limitations at the top of the page, to ensure the free key will be suitable for you.
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The anser is.... you have to contact customer services who in my case were happy to provide free licence within 10 minutes. They said you can't get it in any other way nowadays.
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I notice that the only version available for download with my 6 license is 6.5.0a from 2017-02-02. Does this mean that the free license will no longer includes "Update" releases since Update 1 is now available? Or do I need to contact support to get a different key?
Anyone from VMWare willing to respond?
The solution that I found is to
1. register for an evaluation of the non free version Download VMware vSphere
2. download the evaluation and install
3. activate with your free esxi license key
I beleive this should be an alirght approach, as otherwise the license key i m using should not be activeable in trail version I downloaded.
Yes, this is the approach I've used, but all that is shown on the page referred to under "Viewing the License for free Hypervisor (ESXi 6.x)" is the following:
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6 License XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXX
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.5.0a - Binaries
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 Update 2 - Binaries
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 Update 1 - Binaries
VMware vSphere Hypervisor 6.0 - Binaries
I would have expected for Hypervisor 6.5 Update 1 to show up in the list, unless an additional license is needed to go beyond 6.5.0.a.
I thought, if you could get your hands on the ISO file for an ESXi host, you get 60 days free. That's why vCenter works. You get 60 days with a full Enterprise Plus functionality.
If you're looking at running this in a lab, you can look at William Lam's site. He has multiple OVAs of both ESXi and vCenter.
I think there's a disconnect here. I'm an enthusiast running a free version of ESXi to house various VMs that are up 24x7 to provide services for my home network and locally hosted apps. The box I built started out as 4.1 back in 2011. I've been upgrading it since and am now running 6.0u2 on that same hardware. So a 60-day trial isn't going to work for me. My license is free, with no time-limit, but also no vCenter. Typically I don't upgrade until at least "Update 1" is released. I expected them to release an "Update 1" for my free license, but all they have is 6.5.0a. That's why I was asking if I needed to obtain an updated "free" license (different from trial) to access further 6.5 updates. Or if those updates were even forthcoming from vmware for their free license.
Along those same lines, William Lam's appliances are all nested, which isn't applicable to what I'm talking about here. He does provide excellent scripts and insight though. I've been using his local cron-based backup script to facilitate weekly backups of my VMs and ESXi configuration to my NAS for well over a year now.
When you go onto the VMware website to download esxi 6.5 u1 it gives u a free license number to enter on the esxi web interface after you have installed it. But it wasn’t what I expected it only let’s you create a VM with 8vcpu to get more you need to buy a license I bought one for £580 that includes 3 hosts and 1 vcenter server.
I think there's also a time limit associated with the license that is provided during the download process you describe. Is that not the case?
I think I read all the above posts slowly enough but the answer is still not clear.
I have the esxi/free license and on my vmware download page, the newest
version which I can download is 6.5.0a (as per the user above)- which is 3 versions behind the latest.
Does vmware have an official answer on how one can obtain the esxi/free
latest version and whether the free license that one already has is still valid ?
M4T answered your question, yes there is a free ESXi 6.5U1, but there are new limitations to the usage of it. as long as you do not have a requirement of VM's greater the 8vCPU (Socket or Core) then it will work as previously.
as an alterantive you could just purchase an annually subscription to VMUG Advantange and gain access to a large majority of VMware products.