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Restrict Number of VM's per Host

Posted on 2014-07-29
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Last Modified: 2014-07-31
We have a few ESX hosts which run a number of Windows guest OS instances. Due to the restrictions of Windows Standard licensing, I know that we can only have a certain number of VM's running based upon the amount of licences we have.

If all of our ESX hosts (with one processor) have one licence, I believe this means we can run two VM's. If we have HA and DRS active, then VMware may power-up additional VM's on another host due to hardware failure / maintenance or move them around based upon resource demand. If that happens, additional VM's may end up running on another host, breaching the licensing agreement.

If you had three hosts, each running two VM's and you allowed for a single host failure, then you would need to purchase 2 x Windows Standard licenses for each host? This would then accommodate the failure as you would be licensed for an additional two - whether it's an additional two VM's running on one of the remaining hosts or one on each of the remaining.

The problem is, surely DRS can move any of the VM's to any of the hosts, i.e. if you have an application that consumes a lot of CPU and memory, it may end up on one server only (wasting a license) and all the other VM's end up on another host which then breaches the licensing agreement?

Is there any way you can control the amount of virtual machines that can run on a single host to make sure that you are compliant with licensing?

I realise that Datacenter licensing would be a better way to go as the VM sprawl increases, but we want to avoid it for now.
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Question by:Hypervizor
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by:Mohammed Khawaja
Mohammed Khawaja earned 100 total points
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You assumption is incorrect.  According to Microsoft, if you have booted up a VM in the last 60 days on a host then they consider those VMs live for licensing purposes.  Therefore, if you have 3 standard CALs, you could not have more than 2 VMs booted on each hosts where logon date is less than 60 days.

What you want to do with ESXi is possible using Host Affinity rules.  Check VMware docs for it.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 400 total points
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Yes, Disable DRS, or use DRS rules to "stick" VMs to Hosts, but then you are not using DRS!

Create Affinity or Anti-Affinity Rules, but if you use these then DRS is really useless!

Purchase a Windows Datacentrer license!
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