VSAN is Great, but their Licensing Sucks

On April 1st I tweeted that

And I still stand by this remark. Building and configuring a New VSAN is simple, even if you have to spend most of the morning in 4 machines LSI Bios configuring several single disk RAID0 groups and associated vDisks and then manually marking your SSD as such in ESXCLI.

Now I have a completely different view on Licensing the thing. What? I hear you shout, it is simple open up licensing and just put in your license key and you are away and running. This is true, if you are using Enterprise Plus Licensing, however what happens if you are not using Enterprise Plus licensing?

Well you would expect that the licensing engine would be stable enough to now that your vDS is licensed by your installed VSAN license and to ignore the fact that you are using a software feature that is not authorized in your edition (In my case Enterprise) but rather surprisingly this is what I received when I tried to use our licenses.license_error_new_web

So I clicked the “Details” tab and obtained some greater details.


You might say that is not unexpected, but think about this for a minute and consider the implication.

We had just built and configured a 4 node ESXi environment, as per usual practice we build and configured using Evaluation licenses. We moved VM’s in. around between our Nexenta storage and your VSAN.

So we had done a lot of work over the 60 day evaluation period, and now we are facing the very possible action of having to redo it all.

I can honestly say I am not happy, this is not what I expected of VMware. I would have expected a more joined up licensing policy. I would expect that the licensing engine was intelligent enough to know that the vDS feature was already licensed by my VSAN license.

I have raised a call regarding this with VMware support. As I really do not want to have to do all this rework. It is 9 days and counting until my evaluation licenses time out.

You may wonder how I did not know about this issue, but my VEXPERT licenses are all Enterprise Plus level those I have access to via my company are all Enterprise Plus, and yes the Evaulation is all Enterprise Plus level.  So I have just not ever come accross it.  All may testing, Playing and enterprise experiance is with the Enterprise Plus level.

Perhaps is could be a good idea if we as VEXPERTS could be given access to all license levels, like Standard, Advanced and Enterprise and perhaps, just perhaps this issue may have been found earlier.

5 thoughts on “VSAN is Great, but their Licensing Sucks”

    1. VMware may call it a bug, but I call it a licensing cockup. Other issues have become apparent with this regarding the fact that VMware’s Left and Right hands do not appear to know what is going on. The Website marketing clearly states that VSAN comes with vDS. but Licensing support actually informed me it did not. I explained that their own web site clearly stated differently. to say I am not a happy bunny is quite an understatement.

      1. VMware product team member


        This is a misstatement by our support. I’ll make sure this is corrected. I apologize for the inconvenience.
        Thanks for informing us on the problem.


          1. Hey Tom,

            I don’t have the full details of your conversation with support, but it seems there might be a misunderstanding. You are entitled for vDS for you VSAN cluster regardless of your vSphere edition. I’m quoting from our official product guide (EULA):” For each Cluster that is running the Software, the vSphere Distributed Switch may be used for network management purposes regardless of the vSphere edition. ”
            You can go to http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/vmware-product-guide.pdf – page 18 – and see the above quote.
            I suspect that support might have thought that you are trying to use vDS for a cluster that is not using VSAN (or vSphere ENT+) , and this is where they might have stated you are not entitled to vDS.

            Hope this information helps and please feel free to reach out to me through email if the issue is still pending.


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