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Darrin Moore

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Errors when trying to upgrade free vmware licensing to essentials

I have 3 VMware hosts. We have always run only vsphere to access them and not vcenter. I just recently learned (fairly new employee) that we are running the free version of VMware on all of them. This was discovered when trying to implement Veeam for our backups and it failed due to VMware not having the proper API's to interact with Veeam. I purchased the VMware Essentials license for each of the servers, but trying to install the licensing gives me an error on each host.

Host versions are:
Esxi 6.7.0
Esxi 6.0.0
Esxi 6.0.0

The 6.7.0 host tells me to put "please provide a valid license key"
The 6.0.0 hosts tell me "Some features will become unavailable after license assignment"

Full errors are attached.
Avatar of Paul Solovyovsky
Paul Solovyovsky
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What version of licensing are you attempting to install, Essentials, Enterprise Plus, etc..

How many CPUs does the 6.7 host have?
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Hello There

You might be unable to assign a license key to an ESXi host because of the following reasons:
■ The calculated license usage for the host exceeds the license capacity. For example, you have a vSphere Essentials license key with capacity for two processors. You try to assign the key to a host that has four processors. You cannot assign the key, because the required license usage for the host is four processors.
■ The features on the host do not match the license edition. For example, you might configure vMotion and DRS on a cluster of hosts while you are using evaluation mode. Later, you try to assign Standard license keys to the hosts. This operation fails because the Standard edition does not include vMotion and DRS.
■ You do not apply the correct license key.
■ The host is connected to a vCenter Server system that is assigned a license key that restricts the edition of the license that you want to assign. For example, vCenter Server is licensed with vCenter Server Standard, and the license key is for vSphere Essentials.
This IS NOT an ESXi License Key.

You have already allocated a license key to ESXi ?

That key is also not a valid Center Server key.

Where did you purchase you're licenses from ?
Avatar of Darrin Moore


hi guys, I appreciate the responses. I was out of the office so i'm catching back up. Some background...I inherited this environment and just discovered that the VMware servers were running the free versions. I am trying to install essentials licensing. I'm being told by VMware that my hosts running 6.0.0 are giving me the "error" because it is removing the limitation from the free version and should be fine to proceed.
The host running 6.7.0 that flat out just refuses to accept the license has 2 sockets with 6 cores each. Do you think my license has something to do with the CPU's? BTW, i'm far from being a VMWare expert so my apologies in advance :)
Licenses are PER CPU (socket) not cores, so that's no the issue.

I would remove ALL free licenses, however that could resort back to evaluation, or evaluation expired, and if it has running VMs.....

there is a possibility they would stop, I cannot remember if licenses turn off VMs, or VMs cannot just start. (if unlicensed)

I tested all your license keys, and could not get any of them to work, even on a Evaluation (FREE) VMware vSphere license.

Where did you get the keys - VMware ?
I certainly don't want to stop all my VM's if possible. I got my keys thru my preferred vendor which works with VMWare. Can I somehow discreetly send what I received from them?

Avatar of Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
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ahhh ok. That would have been nice to know when I received  i'm guessing I would need to do the same for my 6.0.0 hosts as well?

All 6.x keys are the same, e.g. 6.0, 6.5 and 6.7.

7.0 keys only work with 7.0.

What you have to remember, is if you downgrade to 6.x, you will lose the rights to use 7.0!

see here
I didn't realize that 7 wouldn't work on earlier versions. I downgraded them and all of them installed flawlessly. I very much appreciate your help. You're a lifesaver, Andrew!