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Nael_Shahid asked on

Virtual Centre Licensing and ESXi


Can ESXi benefit from all Vi3 features, ie vmotion, DRS and HA?

If so what licensing do I need to implement this?

Also, when you evaluate Vi3 (ESX3.5 and VC 2.5) do you need to point the ESX hosts at the license server? I have read that you do not need to do this to evaluate all features, however I dont understand how you can evaluate vmotion etc if you do not point at a license server as these enterprise features require VC and thus a centralised license server.
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8/22/2022 - Mon

Points increase - looking for good response only.

ESXi is a free product so does not need licensing. It does not support command line, VMotion, DRS, or HA.

If you will be installing ESX and Virtual Centre then yes you will be controlling all the ESX servers from the VC and as such will be using the evaluation license in the VC. You can get all you need when you download from VMware's website.

I hope this answers your questions.
Luciano Patrão


EXSi do not support command line, but you can pass that using the console. But VMotion, DRS or HA are not supported in the ESXi free version.

To Work in the console in the ESXi you can use this




In the ESX evaluate version, all works, until the end of the trial. This version have no restrictions to he VMware

Hope this can help you

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Can you please supply your source for this information? I find it difficult to believe that ESXi 3.5 can support those features as those features rely on a Virtual Centre Server to work and that is a licensed piece of software.
Luciano Patrão


squify is right, Upgrading ESXi is not free. An to use HA, or DRS you need upgrade, and use Virtual Center

Check this:


If is About ESX trial,  you can download the ESX(Vi3) you can get all the license for 60 days




What I meant was:

VMotion, DRS & HA are available using ESXi hosts as long as you have a VC server - which is what I will have all be it the 60 day eval.

Am I wrong thinking this?

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Technically you can run ESXi with virtual centre server however each ESXi host needs to be licensed to support a VirtualCenter Agent. That means, each ESXi host needs a VI Foundation, VI Standard, or VI Enterprise license. Separately, you need a VirtualCenter Server (VC) license (or VirtualCenter Foundation, if you have <=3 hosts).

So to clear this up:
"Can ESXi benefit from all Vi3 features, ie vmotion, DRS and HA?"
Technically yes, however you will be purchasing licenses that you would use if you had installed ESX so why you would want to run ESXi with VC is beyond me.

"If so what licensing do I need to implement this?"
Explained above.

"Also, when you evaluate Vi3 (ESX3.5 and VC 2.5) do you need to point the ESX hosts at the license server?"
Yes you do although it is only an evaluation license you still need to have the VC agents on the ESX server and as such will need to have them pointed at the VC server.

I would also like to point out that your original question did not mention you had a Virtual Centre server and simply asked if ESXi can support Vmotion, DRS, HA. My original answer to that question is still correct.

Thanks squify - I thought I had included VC in the original question, sorry about that... My mistake

In an ideal world I would like to use ESX3.5 with VC for the evaluation however we do not currently have the hardware to allow for this - hence the use of our current ESXi hosts.

Will the VC evaluation license include Virtual Centre Agent licenses for the ESXi hosts then? And thus all I need to do is point them (hosts) at the license server?

My aim is to evaluate VC and all VI3 features (in an attempt to get this purchased for our company using the wow factor of HA-VMotion!!) using 2 ESXi hosts without needing to purchase any licenses, is this possible?

Thanks for your hep and patience... will award points after this question.
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Many thanks for all your help....