VMware vSphere Hypervisor Licensing and Cost

We all know, and love, the fact that vSphere Hypervisor is free of charge. The free version doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of the fully licensed product, but it’s still very usable in many scenarios.

Recently I’ve been investigating the possibilities of running vSphere Hypervisor on a number of floating branch offices, also known as vessels.

I’m not going into details about the proposed setup, and how we intend to roll it and so on, but one of the things I really wanted to get out of this was to have all my off-site vSphere Hypervisor installs appear in my vCenter Client. I don’t need HA, DRS, DPM or any of the other licensed features and I’d be happy with running the free edition if only it was able to connect to an existing vCenter installation.

Sadly, and understandably, this isn’t possible in the free edition so I looked into what it would cost to license the installs to make this a possibility. After investigating a bit, it seems that I would need to buy VMware vSphere Standard licenses for all the vessels to be able to get what I want.

For 20 vessels, with the standard pricing available on vmware.com, inclusive 1 year support, we come up with this (all prices in USD)

Hosts vSphere Standard
License Cost incl. Support
Total Cost
20 1318 26360

In effect, this means that I would need to pay $26360.- USD to be able to get my vSphere Hypervisor hosts connected to my existing vCenter. That simply isn’t feasible in the current situation.

Remember, I do not need any of the other features that vSphere Standard provides me with, like Thin Provisioning, High Availability, vMotion, vStorage APIs for Data Protection and Update Manager. Update Manager could potentially be useful, but that’s about it.

So, dear VMware; Have you considered this scenario at all? I’m sure I’m not the only customer looking to deploy vSphere Hypervisor in remote locations, where they will run a single VM and their poor admin wants to be able to have them all managed in a single console?

I would really like to see a “vCenter Connector” license for vSphere Hypervisor, that only provides a way to connect to an existing licensed vCenter instance.

Is this to much to ask for? I understand that VMware want to get paid for their enterprise products, and I’m normally happy to do so, but in this case the return simply does not warrant the cost.


  1. Try veeam monitor.
    This consolidates all the monitoring and logins to one location.
    We use this to manage our remote esxi boxes.

  2. @Nate: That is clearly a license/EULA violation.

    Check the VMware ESX/ESXi EULA:

    c) VMware vSphere Essentials and VMware vSphere Essentials Plus

    If you have licensed VMware vSphere Essentials or VMware vSphere Essentials Plus, the following additional license terms apply:

    VMware licenses VMware vSphere Essentials or VMware vSphere Essentials Plus editions (collectively “Editions”) to you solely for managing up to three (3) server hosts and your use of these Editions is limited to servers with up to two processors. For these Editions, the server hosts must be managed by the VMware vCenter Server that is provided with these Editions, and that same VMware vCenter Server cannot be used to manage other server hosts not included with these Editions.

    I do not want to be caught with my pants down in any corporate licensing issue. That is simply not an option, even if it does work.

  3. @VMDoug: I know where to get hold you guys, no worries. I’m worried why I didn’t think about using Veeam Monitor myself though, but thats not your fault. ;-)

    I did have a look at Veeam Monitor 4.x in my lab today, and plan to test the 5 Beta tomorrow. I might even throw in some WAN emulation to test it with the same kind of bandwidth/latency issues we have when communicating with our vessels.

  4. Christian and Luke,

    Good idea here to use Veeam Monitor. Please let me know if you have any questions.



    Doug Hazelman
    Sr. Director, Product Strategy
    Veeam Software
    Twitter: @VMDoug

  5. This issue is one of the two reasons that we went w/ Hyper-V for our branch offices. We have SCVMM as part of our EA w/ MS. And they didn’t support vsphere last I knew.

  6. Thanks to this change in licensing, I found an excellent alternative with Proxmox! It utilizes KVM with an intuitive interface. Thank you VMWare!

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