vSphere provides centralized a license management and reporting system that you can use to manage licenses for ESXi hosts, vCenter Server systems, Virtual SAN clusters, and solutions. Solutions are products that integrate with vSphere such as VMware Site Recovery Manager, vCloud Networking and Security, vRealize Operations Manager, and others.

The licensing system in vSphere uses specific terminology and definitions to refer to different licensing-related objects.

In vSphere 6.0, the License Service is part of the Platform Services Controller and delivers centralized license management and reporting functionality to vSphere and to products that integrate with vSphere.

If your vSphere 6.0 environment consists of vCenter Server 6.0 and 5.5 systems, you should consider the differences in the license management and reporting between vSphere 6.0 and vSphere 5.5.

ESXi hosts, vCenter Server, and Virtual SAN clusters are licensed differently. To apply their licensing models correctly, you must understand how the associated assets consume license capacity, the way the evaluation period for each product functions, what happens if a product license expires, and so on.

Suite products combine multiple components to provide a certain set of capabilities. Suite products have a single license that you can assign to all suite components. When participating in a suite, suite components have different licensing models than their standalone versions. Examples of suite products are vCloud Suite and vSphere with Operations Management.

To license an asset in vSphere, you must assign it a license that holds an appropriate product license key. You can use the license management functionality in the vSphere Web Client to license multiple assets at a time from a central place. Assets are vCenter Server systems, hosts, Virtual SAN clusters, and solutions.

You can view the licensing state of the vSphere environment from a central place by using the license management functionality in the vSphere Web Client. You can view the licenses that are available in vSphere, current license assignments and usage, available license capacity, licensed features in use, and so on.

You can track the license usage of your vSphere environment by generating reports for the license usage of assets for a certain time period. Assets are hosts, vCenter Server systems, Virtual SAN clusters, and solutions.