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CPU's and VMware free edition?

Posted on 2010-08-25
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Last Modified: 2013-12-10
When open a 2008 host with VMware ESXI free version with 8 logical processors I get the following error: Feature vsmp not licensed, requires 8 have 4.  

The licence in vSphere client shows:

Product: vSphere 4 Hypervisor Licensed for 2 physical CPUs (1-6 cores per CPU)
License Key: 4N0CP-2E29K-58638-0U2RP-187PN
Expires: Never

Product Features:
    Up to 256 GB of memory
    Up to 4-way virtual SMP

Does this mean i have to upgrade to the next version of VMware to use all 8 cores?
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Question by:resolver1
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Expert Comment

by:frederi
ID: 33522973
IT depends on the physical CPUs you have installed in your machine.
Are they 8 single-core CPUs? Or 1 Octo-Core? 4 dual-cores?
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 168 total points
ID: 33522986
That is correct, and only some versions support more than 6 cores per CPU.

How many cores per CPU do you have and how many vCPUs did you allocate to the VM?
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by:bgoering
bgoering earned 221 total points
ID: 33523124
Looking at http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vsphere_pricing.pdf it appears that Enterprise plus licensing is required for 8 way vsmp. Other licensing versions only go up to 4.

Hope this helps
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 168 total points
ID: 33523228
Keep in mind that in most instances larger amount of vCPUs actually slow down the VM.  This occurs because the VM has to quiesce all the vCPUs even if there is only enough processing that a single vCPU will handle.  Start with 2 and work your way to up 4
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Author Comment

by:resolver1
ID: 33523502
We have 2 physical processors each having 4 cores.

What does a logical processor actually mean? do logical processors represent the physical cores?
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by:paulsolov
paulsolov earned 168 total points
ID: 33523562
Each core represents a vCPU and ESXi only offers 4 way SMP so that each core appears as a CPU inside the VM.
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by:frederi
frederi earned 111 total points
ID: 33523625
Then bgoering is right : it's the fact that you have a VM with 8 vCPU configured that is the blocking issue.
You need to upgrade your license to Vsphere Enterprise in order to be able to run this VM on this host.
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Author Comment

by:resolver1
ID: 33523640
OK so in my situation.  If i bought VMware ESXi essentials (instead of the vmware free version).  Would that let me take advantage of all the cores for host?
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by:frederi
frederi earned 111 total points
ID: 33523920
Vsphere Essentials is also limited to 4 way vSMP and 6-cores hosts, so I don't think this would be a solution.
http://store.vmware.com/store?Action=DisplayPage&Env=BASE&Locale=en_US&SiteID=vmware&id=ProductDetailsPage&productID=126843700&resid=TA-L@QoHAi4AAEJZO8kAAAAX&rests=1282756647069
I'd like to check something : if I got it right, you have a physical server with Windows server 2008 installed and Hyper-V activated, and then you create an Hyper-V VM, and install Vmware ESXi in it?
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by:bgoering
bgoering earned 221 total points
ID: 33524478
VMware essentials is also limited to 4-way vmsp, only top cadiallac licensing allows for 8-way.

Difference between cores and logical processors I only see if hyperthreading is enabled (only recommended on Nehalem [E5xx processors] or Westmere [E6xx])

For example my home lab has Dell R710 server with 4 core Nehalem, and hyperthreading enabled. It shows 4 cores, and 8 logical processors.

Good Luck
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Author Comment

by:resolver1
ID: 33529311
OK, just to make sure I understand.  If I have one 2008 sbs host and I select 4 virtual symetrical processors and i have 8 physical cores (2 physical processors), ESXI and the host will only take advantage 4 cores and 4 will not be used, right?

I'm just trying to understand how vmware utilize the processes. Any information you have that helps me understand is welcome.  Thanks.
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bgoering earned 221 total points
ID: 33532688
Only 4 will be used for that particular virtual machine. However if you have other virtual machines, each one can have 1, 2, or 4 virtual processors and would consume additional cores. You can overcommit virtual processors to physical cores to some extent.

Now if SBS 2008 is the ONLY vm you are planning on running, it will not be able to exploit all of the processors unless you purchase Enterprise Plus level licensing.

VMware's chief strength is in its ability to share the resources available on the physical host among all of the VMs that you create to run on the box. The idea is if you need 10, 15, 20 servers - all needing 1, 2, whatever processors - you can put all of those servers onto ESX Servers and not have to buy 10, 15, 20 etc. physical servers.
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Author Comment

by:resolver1
ID: 33534988
Thanks.  That answers my question.   I don't think the free version of ESXI will work to our best advantage.  Just to explain my original proposal: I was to have the following virtual machines:

1. Windows 2008 SBS
2. NT 4.0 - old ERP system  (we wont be upgrading from NT but still need to run it)
3. NT 4.0 - old information system (again we wont upgrade but we still need to run it)

The NT systems would not even need a single core to run effectively.  The windows SBS 2008 would have the maximum,  4 cores.  This would leave 2 cores doing nothing.  I think it would be a waste of resources.  The main benefit to our company would be having a fast SBS 2008 server (domain and exchange + additional roles). I think for our situation running SBS 2008 on the physical machine with no virtualization is the best as it will use all the resources (including all 8 cores) to their full potential.  I'll work out another method for the NT Servers.  Thanks for your time.

Is there any documentation that explains V SMPs and how they are used?
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Assisted Solution

by:bgoering
bgoering earned 221 total points
ID: 33535059
This gets into it a bit: http://www.vmware.com/resources/techresources/10059

Good luck with you SBS
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Author Comment

by:resolver1
ID: 33546326
thanks alot for your help.  i understand a little better now.  cheers!
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