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VMware "ESXi" Application Configuration under vSphere License

Hi All,

I have a number of VMware ESXi applications under the Unlicensed Installations view that I'm trying to sort out. We have a number of vSphere licenses created that are mapped to their corresponding vSphere application (OOTB) but this still leaves ESXi unaccounted for. I've noticed ESXi and vSphere installations are nearly 1:1, in other words both applications are discovered on each host.

In terms of license configuration, what is the best practice to manage the ESXi applications that are sitting under Unlicensed Installations?

There are a couple of approaches I can think of including:

  1. Ignoring the application
  2. Adding the ESXi application under the vSphere license as a Supplementary product that's not measured for compliance

Happy to consider any other options or recommended approaches.

*FNMS 2018 R2 inc. FlexNet Manager for VMware



(8) Replies

Hi Will,

ESXi recognised title is coming from OS evidence and vSphere is coming from Licensed edition information. You are right both are representing same licensed application.

I would say make ESXi title as supplementary application of vSphere (Primary App) that give you peace of mind when both are reported against the same device, ESXi is consider licensed due to vSphere license.

Hope this will help.



By Level 17 Champion
Level 17 Champion

Hi Will,

I would make it depend on what data is going to help you in your work and what your processes are.

  1. If ESXi itself is not relevant to you, go ahead and ignore it.
  2. Or add it to another license.
  3. Or create a dedicated license for it. While maybe not relevant for license compliance, it could still be useful if you manage the software lifecycle or administration costs (like treating it as an asset) or just to see how this evolves over time (trending).

Best regards,



Thanks @mfranz and @AamerSharif for the replies.

So I configured the ESXi applications to vSphere licenses (mapped like versions) and set them up as Supplementary products that are not measured for compliance. After reconciling the publisher, I'm not seeing the results I was expecting.

4 out of 5 ESXi versions still remain in the Unlicensed Installations view but the Unlicensed Quantity has decreased. See attachment.

After reading the Online help I came to understand there are two reasons for Unlicensed Installations:

  • There is no license created for an application of this name, version, and edition. Every reported installation of this application is unlicensed.
  • There is a license for the software, but for some reason some installation(s) cannot be covered by that license.

Seems like my case falls under the second reason which requires some deep investigation to resolve. Unfortunately the Exclusion reason under the Related license just displays "None" so no clues there. I'm tempted to just set these applications as Ignored.

Any pointers to how I resolve this exclusion? Also, there are no restrictions set up in the licenses



Hi Will,

It would be interesting to see what primary application was found on these devices still marked as unlicensed.

Best regards,


After you added the ESX application to the license, did you go to the Use Rights tab and adjust the Upgrade and Downgrade rights of the ESX Product?


The primary VMware applications (with a Commercial classification) on one of the unlicensed devices are:

  • VMware vSphere 6 Enterprise Plus
  • VMware ESXi 6.0


Actually, I didn't set downgrade rights on ESXi initially as I was mapping version to version but I will give it a try now.

Ok I've identified one problem with my configuration.

There are several different licenses that cover vSphere 6 in my environment, for example:

vSphere 6 Enterprise Plus
vSphere 6 Enterprise Plus for vCloud Suites
vSphere 6 Enterprise Plus ELA
vSphere 6 Standard
SDDC Manager for Cloud Foundation 3.x
etc, etc...

The vSphere installs are consuming off either of these licenses depending on the Application License Consumption Priority.  However, I failed to account for them all when bundling the ESXi application... The way I identified this was by reviewing the installed VMware applications on the Unlicensed inventory devices and noting which license the vSphere install was consuming from. Thanks to @mfranz for the helpful hint 😀

The second problem I identified was vSphere 6 Desktop license was not consuming as it should've been, so no ESXi bundling would've worked until the underlying consumption issue was resolved. I couldn't figure out the root cause for this consumption problem (simple Device type license with installs) so I just created a new license from scratch and it started working!

Thank you all for the help

Thank you for the last message Willy