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VSphere vMotion, DRS and Windows Activation

Posted on 2012-04-02
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Hi All,

We are currently running vSphere but have different hardware hosts.  2x Dell R710 and 1x Dell R610 - all have different speed processors.  What are the implications of migrating VM's between the hosts?  Will Windows 2008 need to be activated each time?  Also is it possible to enable DRS further down the line or will I encounter the same issue?  In order for this to work correctly do all your hosts have to be the same make and model with the same processor?  Seems a bit awkward to have to buy exactly the same machines as I am sure most people do not have identical kit and their VM infrastructure has grown over time.  

Obviously it is Microsoft that would cause the re-activation.

Many thanks,

Matt
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Question by:matthewrichmond
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 37795445
When using different processors in a Cluster for vMotion (DRS) you would Enable EVC (Enhanced vMotion Compatibility) to ensure that the VMs, use the same set of CPU features in teh Cluster.

see here

http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003212
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1005764

Once, you have Enabled EVC in the Cluster, you will have no vMotion issues. However, if you are using Retail licenses, Microsoft's Activation could detect a change in processor and require reactivation.
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Assisted Solution

by:Subhashish Laha
Subhashish Laha earned 1000 total points
ID: 37795479
There will not be any Windows Re-activation required due to Vmotion. Vmotion doesn't change the machine Hardware layout which is responsible for Windows re-activation.

You can configure DRS with these models (R610 and R710). Both servers are compatible. You can check on below link

- Select Product Release Version  --> All
- Partner Name --> DELL
- System Type --> All

On page 11 and 12, you will find the models are listed as compatible.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=server

Also, you can enable Enhanced Vmotion compatibility feature which allows you to migrate virtual machines between different generations of CPUs.
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Author Comment

by:matthewrichmond
ID: 37795546
Thanks Hanccocka,

I have EVC enabled.  Does this still mean if I use vMotion to migrate between hosts I will still need to re-activate Windows?  I presume that it will pick up that the hardware has changed?  I take it that migration between the two R710s would be less likely to cause this than migration between the R710 and the R610?  I will just have a look through the documents you suggest.
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Author Comment

by:matthewrichmond
ID: 37795556
Thanks both I will split the points.  I think that I must have migrated some servers before enabling EVC and that was causing the re-activation.  It is now active so this should not happen when migrating between hosts now in the cluster.  Thanks for your help.
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