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Thursday, October 26, 2017

VMware Licensing Organization Tips

I bet there are lots of folks out there that just love managing licensing both on their systems and in the VMware portal. For those of you that didn't sense my sarcasm, there have been some pain points in the past, but I have to say I have been so impressed with recent changes to the VMware portal and some additions in vSphere 6.5 regarding license management that I had to share once I found them.

They have made it really easy to use and have separated the product lines in the main licensing page, this is done by default and is not something you have to setup. The portal is laid out really nice and is pretty easy to navigate compared to how things have been in the past.

Another really cool feature is the ability to split and combine CPU licenses really easy.
Let's say for example that you used to have a few separate hosts at a location and now you have changed it over to a cluster, you can easily combine those licenses and label them with the name of the cluster and you also can add in location tags as well. This is a feature that I find helps me out quite a bit. Another scenario would be that you need to separate a pack of CPU licenses so that you can dole them out to other locations. It is also a welcome feature to be able to upgrade and downgrade licenses as you need to. All of these things come in really handy whether you are a small shop or have dozens of sites to keep track of. Here are all of the options they give you on the top of the page, it is a very versatile system that is flexible to whatever your needs are.

One of the neat things that I discovered very recently is the ability in vSphere 6.5 to import a special license report into vCenter, it will take the data that you have entered into the VMware licensing portal such as the location and notes that you have made on that particular license or group of licenses. Then it will display them on the appropriate products in the licensing section of the vCenter web client. I assume it does this by matching the product keys up. This allows you to not only notate and keep track of what license is installed at which site location in the my.vmware portal, but also allows that same data to be imported and kept track of right within vCenter itself. That is a powerful tool when it comes to everybody's favorite time of year, Renewals! This can help you track down which CPU Licenses are at each location and will help you sort out what products need to be renewed. Here is how it works.

First you need to export your licensing data from the my.vmware portal in a specific report called the Product Licenses, Details, and History Report as shown here:

This will export the data to a CSV file, which you will download and then import into vCenter here

As part of the wizard it will auto detect the licenses in the file and compare them to your license inventory and then automatically apply some of the license tags, and notes details to the correct product, again this is only if you have added this additional information into the my.vmware portal. It will also give you the option to manually add additional license data into the system for other products. In my case those other licenses it gave me the option to manually add were old licensing for outdated products no longer in use, so I manually removed them from the import by unchecking those boxes.

This is what it looks like once you have imported the data into vCenter. You can see that each site label has been imported into the correct location and the tags from the VMware licensing portal show under the My.VMware Column headers for each licensed asset. That is it for this post. I hope you found it useful and take advantage of some of the new tools to help manage licensing built into vSphere and vCenter 6.5! Cheers!

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