All license keys of ESXi hosts, vCenter Server and solutions are kept in the vCenter Server license inventory. vCenter Server systems in Linked Mode share a common license inventory.

The license inventories in the vCenter Server systems maintain work slightly differently, depending on whether you have Linked Mode groups or standalone systems.

These examples are specific to ESXi hosts and might not apply to solutions.

1

You uninstall vCenter Server without first unlicensing and removing the hosts.

2

The hosts remain licensed.

3

You add the licensed hosts to another vCenter Server instance.

4

The license keys are transferred with the hosts.

A slightly different scenario:

1

You uninstall vCenter Server keeping all hosts licensed.

2

You reinstall vCenter Server and make it part of a different Linked Mode group.

3

The host license keys from the previous group are not transferred to the new group.

4

You add hosts that were licensed by the previous vCenter Server group to the new group.

5

The host license keys are transferred to the new group.

6

The host license keys now belong to two Linked Mode groups. If the total assignment of the key exceeds the key's capacity, this scenario is not supported and causes your license usage to be out of compliance.

Each vCenter Server instance maintains its own license inventory. If you add an ESXi host to vCenter Server and add the same host to another vCenter Server instance, the host license key moves from the first inventory to the second inventory.

1

You have two vCenter Server instances that are standalone.

2

You assign a license to a host in one vCenter Server instance.

3

You add the host to another vCenter Server instance and retain the license when you add a host.

4

The host license key belongs to two separate license inventories. If the total assignment of the key exceeds the key's capacity, this scenario is not supported and causes your license use to be out of compliance.

1

You have two vCenter Server instances that belong to the same Linked Mode group.

2

You assign a license to a host in one vCenter Server instance.

3

The two vCenter Server instances share a single license inventory.

4

When you add a license key, the key becomes available to all the vCenter Server systems within the same Linked Mode group. The license keys are shared, and each system in the group has the same inventory view, although this might not always seem so because of replication delays.