vSphere has different license editions that are suitable for environments of various scales and needs. When installed, ESXi hosts and vCenter Server are in an evaluation mode that lasts 60 days. While in evaluation mode, you can explore the full set of features for vSphere. After you decide which features serve the needs of your environment, you can choose the most appropriate vSphere and vCenter Server licenses.

In this scenario, you are a system administrator of a small vSphere environment that you are currently using in evaluation mode. You want to continue using your environment after the 60-day evaluation period expires.

When the evaluation period of ESXi hosts or vCenter Server expires, the hosts disconnect from vCenter Server. All powered-on virtual machines and configured features continue to run, but you cannot power on new virtual machines or use new features.

To avoid the consequences from the evaluation period expiry, you must license the ESXi hosts and the vCenter Server system in your environment. In this scenario, you have configured vMotion, therefore you need a vSphere 5 license that unlocks vMotion. You also need an appropriate vCenter Server 5 license.

The scenario uses the ESXi-A and ESXi-B hosts and the My vCenter Server 5.1 system that you installed and configured in Getting Started with ESXi and Getting Started with vCenter Server and the vSphere Web Client.

Information about configuring vMotion is available in Configuring Hosts to Use vMotion for Increased Service Availability.

For more information about naming conventions and network details, see Network Environment.

In this scenario, you license the ESXi-A and ESXi-B hosts and the My vCenter Server 5.1 system.

To begin the licensing configuration, you add the vSphere 5.x and the vCenter Server 5.x licenses in the license inventory of the My vCenter Server 5.1 system. You assign the licenses to the My vCenter Server 5.1 system and the hosts the ESXi-A and ESXi-B.

After you license your vSphere environment, you use the license reporting function in vCenter Server to check the license usage for vSphere 5. In a production environment, checking the license usage for vSphere products regularly will help you to estimate the current and the future licensing needs of your environment.

Workflow for Licensing vSphere
The licensing workflow starts with adding vSphere and vCenter Server license keys to the vCenter Server license inventory. The licensing workflow continues with assigning the license keys to vCenter Server and ESXi hosts. After the license keys are assigned, the workflow completes with monitoring the vRAM usage.