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How to Exclude your VMs from consuming licenses with vRealize Operations

If you have recently found that your vRealize Operations license usage has shot up or if you feel you need a little bit more control over how your vRealize Operations licenses are being consumed in your vRealize Operations instance and would like to exclude your VMs or some of them from license counts then this information is very useful for your needs. Whether you have PLU (Portable License Unit) which can be used as CPU or OSI type of license OR good old CPU license or OSI licenses being used in your vRealize Operations instance that were added to your vRealize Operations via – Administration \ Licensing \ Add option , you can manage your licenses by creating license groups in vRealize Operations .

If you notice that vRealize Operations is consuming licenses for system virtual machines while customer virtual machines may appear unlicensed , then you need to create a separate license group for your system virtual machines so as to be able to exclude them from license counting by vRealize Operations .

If you fail to do so then there is a likelihood that your license usage of virtual machine licenses will exceed over time and your system will be out of compliance in terms of license usage.

So why do you see this license overuse now?

With some of the new features introduced in new versions of vSphere and vSAN , license usage has shot up in vRealize Operations. Introduction of vSphere Cluster services and Workload Management features, as well as the vSAN File Share feature, introduced system virtual machines which vRealize Operations Manager does not exclude from license usage by default.

  • vSphere Workload Management was introduced in vSphere version 7.0
  • vSAN File Share was introduced in vSphere 7.0 / ESXi 7.0
  • vSphere Cluster Services was introduced in vSphere 7.0 Update 1.

If you are thinking well we are still at vSphere 6.7, but my license usage has exceeded in vRealize Operations Manager, then what do I do? The solution is the same in all scenarios.

If you are at vSphere 6.7 then why has license usage exceeded or if its not exceeded but you want to better manage your licenses and would like to exclude your VMs that are created for a specific purpose or testing and you would like them to be deleted from license counts or you may have unused hosts that need not be counted for licenses until they are actually in production usage.

Some additional use cases where you might need to exclude your VMs from license counts are:

  • For OSI based licenses for vRealize Operations or vROps Cloud Standalone if you would like to exclude a subset of VMs to reduce OSI usage.  You should create a custom group that contains the VMs that you do not want to monitor, create a maintenance schedule, then create a policy linking the custom group to the maintenance schedule.  Any VM in maintenance mode will not consume an OSI.  However, keep in mind that Hosts that have no monitored VMs on it, will consume an OSI.
  • For OSI based licenses for vRealize Operations or vROps Cloud Standalone if you would like to exclude all VMs in a vCenter to reduce OSI usage.  You should set the Maximum Number of Virtual Machines Collected to 0 in the advanced settings of the vCenter adapter.  This will exclude all VMs in a vCenter from being monitored.  However, keep in mind that Hosts that have no monitored VMs on it, will consume an OSI.
  • For CPU based licenses for vRealize Operations or vRealize Cloud Universal if you would like to exclude an entire cluster to reduce CPU usage.  You should create a custom group that contains all hosts and all VMs in that cluster, create a maintenance schedule, then create a policy linking the custom group to the maintenance schedule.  Any host in maintenance will not consume any CPUs.
  • For CPU based licenses for vRealize Operations or vRealize Cloud Universal if you want to exclude standalone hosts that are not part of a cluster to reduce CPU usage.  You should create a custom group that contains the standalone host(s) and all VMs on the host, create a maintenance schedule, then create a policy linking the custom group to the maintenance schedule.  Any host in maintenance will not consume any CPUs.
  • Pro-Tip : To reduce OSI usage for vRealize Operations, vRealize Operations Cloud, and vRealize Cloud Universal for AWS, Azure, and GCP, select specific services and regions to monitor in the adapter instance for the cloud account.

Ok I get it! But how do I fix this so that my vRealize Operations Manager only consumes what actually needs to be licensed!

Simple create one or more license groups to be able to exclude them from your license usage –

System virtual machines can be excluded from the license group manually by editing/creating the license group membership.

  1. Log in to vRealize Operations UI as an administrative user.
  2. Navigate to Home Administration Licensing > License Groups.
  3. Click the vertical ellipsis next to the problematic License group and click Edit or create a new group and click ADD.
  4. Select the license key and click Next.
  5. At the bottom of the screen, in the Object to always exclude section, add the system virtual machines to the excluded group.
  6. Click Next then Finish.
  7. Back on the License Keys tab, click the ellipsis and then click Refresh License Usage.

I recommend showing the vRealize Cloud Universal Billing and vRealize Operations Cloud Billing dashboards and mentioning that’s how customers can view their license consumption.

KB article and Official documentation on creating license groups can be found here – https://docs.vmware.com/en/vRealize-Operations/8.6/com.vmware.vcom.core.doc/GUID-037C3F76-1AE7-4BD8-AA29-A4C12E9C0E55.html

https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/81690

You are all set and your VMs will now be excluded from license counting until you remove them from the objects to be always excluded list.

Happy Compliance! And hope you find this information useful.

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