This is a multi-part blog series on some of the frequently asked questions and scenarios for the vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+ Cloud Services. What started out as a single blog post that attempted to summarize some of the learnings and notes that I have made while answering various questions from our field and customers for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+ quickly turned into a 3K+ word blog post and counting! 😅
While I thought it would be easier from a search perspective to have everything in a single blog post, I decided to take the advice from the community and actually break it up into small blogs which would be part of a large multi-part blog series, in no particular order but I recommend reading it in the following logical order as shown below:
- Frequently asked scenarios about vCenter Cloud Gateway (VCGW) for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about vCenter Lifecycle Management for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about vCenter Desired State Configuration for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about VM Provisioning & Management for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about Cloud Consumption Interface (CCI) for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about Global Inventory for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+
- Frequently asked scenarios about Subscription & Entitlement for vSphere+, vSAN+ and VCF+ (THIS BLOG POST)
Subscription & Entitlement
While I typically try to stay away from the topic of licensing in general, I have seen a ton of questions from our field and customers when it comes to the various scenarios and permutations using traditional perpetual licenses and vSphere+, VSAN+ and VCF+, all of which include both a connected and disconnected offering. Technically speaking, anything with a "+" in the name is a connected offering and uses keyless entitlement, one of the many functions provided by the VCGW. In addition to simplified entitlement for ESXi hosts and unlimited deployments of the VCSA, you also get access to all the VMC Cloud Services, which I have covered across the other blog posts but there are so much more to the service (see vSphere Product comparison doc for more details).
Disconnected SKU for Air-Gapped
For users that have air-gapped requirements, we have our disconnected offerings, also referred to as a Term License Subscription SKU (TLSS), which works simliar to the current perpetual license model where a set of license key(s) will be provided with an end date. With the disconnected offers, the VCGW is not needed and you also do not get any of the VMC Cloud Services, which is one of the biggest benefit when using the connected offers, especially as new functionality is constantly being added to the core offering.
In general, when you convert a vCenter Server or SDDC Manager instance (Management and Workload Domains) from perpetual to subscription, all managed ESXi hosts will be converted to subscription using keyless entitlements. This operation can NOT be undone and if you wish to go back to a perpetual vCenter Server, you will need to reinstall the VCSA, so please be sure that you have selected the correct vCenter Server or SDDC Manager.
Note: During the 15day trial period of vSphere+, you will NOT have the option to convert your vCenter Server to subscription, this is only possible after you have purchased a vSphere+ subscription.
Mixed Mode Licensing
If you wish to manage a portion of your ESXi hosts using vSphere+ and another portion of your ESXi hosts using perpetual licenses, then you will need to deploy two different vCenter Servers, one that is subscribed to vSphere+ and the other using either your existing perpetual or the new vSphere+ TLSS (disconnected). Additionally, you can deploy a perpetual or TLSS vCenter Server running in a vSphere+ managed vCenter Server, as this is no different than any other VM, as long as you do not subscribe the perpetual or TLSS vCenter Server.
While my statement about vSphere or rather managing ESXi host is either all subscription or all perpetual/TLSS for a given vCenter Server, there is an exception for vSAN. I have created the following table below to articulate the various combinations and whether it is supported or not, which hopefully should help answer any questions that may come up from a mixed vSphere and vSAN environment.
|vSphere+ and vSphere (perpetual)
|Once a vCenter Server has been converted to subscription; all ESXi hosts managed by that vCenter Server will stop using existing vSphere perpetual licenses. If you wish to use a portion or all of your existing vSphere perpetual license; you will need to deploy a separate vCenter Server which has not been converted to subscription
|vSphere+ and vSAN (perpetual)
|As long as the VMware Cloud Organization does not contain a vSAN+ Subscription; you can continue to use your vSAN perpetual license with the same vCenter Server
|vSAN+ and vSAN (perpetual)
|Once a vCenter Server has been converted to subscription AND the VMware Cloud Organization contains vSAN+ subscription; all ESXi hosts participating in a vSAN cluster will stop using the existing vSAN perpetual licenses. If you wish to use a portion or all of your existing vSAN perpetual license; you will need to deploy a separate vCenter Server which has not been converted to subscription
|vSAN+ and vSphere (perpetual)
|vSAN+ can not be purchased without a vSphere+ subscription
For mixed vSphere+ and vSAN perpetual, you can manage vSAN license keys like you normally do using the vSphere UI under Administration->Licensing->Licenses which was actually a question that someone had recently brought up.
Both vSphere+ and vSAN+ have multiple editions:
- vSphere+ Standard
- vSphere+ (equivalent to vSphere Enterprise Plus)
- vSAN+ Standard
- vSAN+ Advanced
- vSAN+ (equivalent to vSAN Enterprise Plus)
When you convert a vCenter Server to subscription, you will automatically be metered based on the features that you are using which maps to one of the vSphere+ and/or vSAN+ SKUs. A common question that comes up is what happens if you decide to use a feature in a higher edition of vSphere+ and/or vSAN+ than what was initially entitled?
The answer is quite simple and it is what you would expect with a cloud service. The CPU cores for the ESXi host(s) will be metered at the higher edition of vSphere+ and/or vSAN+ while the feature is in use, which may incur additional costs if you have not already purchased the additional vSphere+/vSAN+ editions. If you disable the feature in the higher edition of vSphere+ and/or vSAN+, the change will be picked up by the VMware Cloud service within the next 1hour and the CPU cores for the ESXi host(s) will then be metered at the original vSphere+ and/or vSAN+ edition.
Here are some additional resources related to subscription and entitlement that might be of interests:
- View subscription usage and billing
- Quick Tip - Inventory core count for vSphere+, vSAN+ & VCF+ Cloud Service
- Inventory standalone ESXi host core count for vSphere+
- Automating subscription and usage retrieval for vSphere+ and vSAN+ Cloud Service
- How to check if your vCenter Server is using vSphere+ / vSAN+ Subscription?