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Licensing ESXi 5.x and vCenter Server 5.x

Purpose

This article provides steps to add, assign, remove, unassign, and change the licenses of ESXi 5.x and vCenter Server 5.x.
 
Notes:
  • All ESXi 5.0 and vCenter Server 5.0 keys work with ESXi 5.1 and vCenter Server 5.1. To update your software from 5.0 to 5.1, see Installing or upgrading to ESXi 5.1 best practices (2032756) and Upgrading to vCenter Server 5.1 best practices (2021193). For information on upgrading licence keys, see Upgrading license keys in My VMware (2006974).
  • You can view and manage your license keys in My VMware. For information on viewing your license keys, and for links to information on managing your license keys, see Viewing license keys in My VMware (2006831).

Resolution

You can add any number of licenses to the vSphere 5.x inventory. When assigning licenses in 5.x products, you can create a relationship between an asset and a license key. Each asset can be licensed by one and only one license key or it can be unlicensed as an Evaluation Mode.

Note: To perform these steps, your vSphere Client needs to be connected to the vCenter Server.

Adding License Keys

To add licenses:
  1. Log in to the vSphere Client.
  2. Click Home.
  3. Under the Administration section, click the Licensing icon.
  4. Click Manage vSphere Licenses.
  5. Enter the License Key in the Enter new vSphere license keys field (one per line).
  6. Include labels for new license keys as necessary.
  7. Click Add License Keys.

    After clicking Add License Keys, you can review the license keys you added, capacity counts, expiration dates, and labels associated with the license keys. 

  8. Click Next to assign the license keys.

Assigning License Keys

To assign licenses to the vCenter Server or the ESXi host:
  1. Log in to the vSphere Client.
  2. Click Home.
  3. Under the Administration section, click the Licensing icon.
  4. Choose Evaluation Mode and expand the list. Find the product you want to license.
  5. Right-click on the product and click Change License Key.
  6. Assign a key from list that was entered previously on Manage License window.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Verify that the product is licensed now.
Note: When the cursor is hovered over a license key in the Manage vSphere Licenses wizard displays a tool tip with all of the asset's information.

Removing License Keys

To remove license keys:
  1. Log in to the vSphere Client.
  2. Click Home.
  3. Under the Administration section, click the Licensing icon.
  4. Click Manage vSphere Licenses.
  5. Click Next twice.
  6. Choose the license key you want to remove.
  7. Click Next to proceed to the confirm changes page.You can review your changes on the Confirm Changes page before applying them to your inventory.
  8. Click Finish to apply all of the changes.

Changing License Keys

To license your product with a different license key:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Client.
  2. Click Home.
  3. Under the Administration section, click the Licensing icon.
  4. Expand the product you want to change the license for.
  5. Right-click on the product and choose Change License Key.
  6. Choose the license you want to use to license the product.
Note: From this dialog, you can place a product in Evaluation Mode during the first 60 days.

Licensing a standalone ESXi host

To license a standalone ESXi 5.x (vSphere Hypervisor):
  1. Log in to the ESXi host using vSphere Client.
  2. Click the Configuration tab.
  3. Click Licensed Features under Software.
  4. Click Edit under Licensed Features.
  5. Select Assign a new license key to this host.
  6. Press Enter and enter the License Key.
  7. Click OK.

Licensing vCenter Server 

To license vCenter Server 5.x:
  1. Log in to the vSphere Client.
  2. Click Home.
  3. Under the Administration section, click vCenter Server settings.
  4. Select Assign a new license key to this vCenter Server and click OK.
  5. Enter the license key for the vCenter Server and, if necessary, include labels.
  6. Click Next and Finish.

Evaluation 

In the evaluation mode, you can access and use all features of ESX. The evaluation period is 60 days and begins as soon as you power on the ESX machine. To make full use of the evaluation period, make an early decision on whether to use evaluation mode. If you do not enter a vSphere license key during installation, ESX is installed in the evaluation mode.

Note: Select the evaluation option to enable the evaluation mode. You do not receive a license key for evaluating vSphere.

Configuring vCenter Server to use the legacy license server

The legacy License Server is required to manage your ESX 3.x host machines on the vCenter Server 4.x and the vCenter Server 5.x. You may use an existing VMware License Server or install and configure a new instance of a VMware License Server. VMware License Server versions can be downloaded here.

To configure the legacy VMware License Server information in vCenter Server:
  1. From the vSphere Client, click Administration > vCenter Server Settings.
  2. Choose Licensing.
  3. In the License Server section, enter the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) or the IP address of the legacy VMware License Server. Acceptable formats for entering the FQDN/IP address are:
    • abcd@vmware.com:27000
    • 27000@10.16.16.1

      Optionally, specify the port where the legacy VMware License Server is running.

      Note: If you do not specify the port when configuring the legacy VMware License Server, the default port, 27000, is entered automatically.

  4. Select Reconfigure ESX 3 hosts using license servers to use this server.

    Note: If you do not select Reconfigure ESX 3 hosts using license servers to use this server, the licensing settings on the ESX host remain unchanged.

  5. Click OK to save your changes.
Notes:
  • You must license the ESX host using a centralized license file uploaded on a licenses server. For more information on how to upload a centralized license file on a license server, see Installing licenses for ESX Server 3.x (1001383).
  • You can use another license server to manage the ESX/ESXi 3.x hosts, but the licensing information is not communicated to vCenter Server 4.x. The total number of licenses consumed and available on the license server are summarized on the License reporting portal.
  • For more information on how to generate a Centralized License file, see Creating a Single Host and Centralized License file in the VI3 License Portal (1005132).
Based on VMware KB 2014295

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