Category Archives: VMware

License Key Management for new VMWare ELA Customers

I had a recent discussion with a client regarding management of VMware Licenses after an ELA.  This is a area that I’ve been actively working on since the launch of My VMware and thought others would benefit from my high level summary; the following applies to both an Unlimited or Capped ELA.

This advice assumes a bit of license key management up front but very little compliance management over time. Over the years I have seen too many larger enterprises pay the price (literally via audits) for poor license key management from too many large enterprise software vendors, hence my invest bit now to save a lot later approach.

  • Determine the number of Entitlement Accounts (EA) that work best for your Company
    • Some companies like to keep International Departments separate
    • Other companies group everything together and align folders to corporate structure
    • Coordination of multiple EA’s between your company and your VMware Account Team is critical
    • If you have multiple EA’s today, they can be consolidated with some administrative work
  • Identify two contacts with Global Responsibility to allocate ELA Licenses (these become the Super User and Procurement User)
    • These are the Primary Contacts when internal users need licenses
    • They are responsible for Organization & Management of License Keys
    • Will have visibility and access to all License Keys across Company (Reporting)
    • Typically part of Vendor Management or Procurement Organization
    • Large ELA Key is placed in folder that only Super User / Procurement User access
    • ELA Key is split to fullfil organization requests with smaller key given to organization
      • Large ELA license key is never used or handed out, only split
      • Reconciliation of Used Licenses important at ELA Renewal time
  • Push License Key Management down to Organization “Administrators”
    • Create one folder per Organization
    • Grant one or two members of Organization Administrator priviledges to folder
    • Super User places Organization allocations of Licenses in Organization folder
    • Organization Administrator’s responsible for Managing licenses for Organization
      • Further sub dividing license keys and organizing within Organization Folder
      • Granting access to Organization folder for Administrators and Support Staff
  • My Vmware folder permissions are used to determine support entitlements by Vmware GSS

More details can be found under my other My VMware posts.

VMworld 2012 Recap

I’m still getting a few requests for a recap of VMworld.  Below is a modified version of a private email newsletter I create for my clients and posting here for all the recap requestors…

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Last week more than 21,000 people attended VMworld 2012 in San Francisco. Nearly half of those people took one of the 11,300+ hands on labs that were delivered (over 125,000 VMs were deployed in the Hands On Labs over the four and half days of the show). Continuing the trend of past VMworlds, last week was an huge success and continued to expand on the VMworld vibe that many find unique among tech conferences.

This edition of the newsletter provides a recap of VMworld.

VMworld Replays and Recaps

Photos from VMworld

Sad to announce that the few hours I spent at the actual show I didn’t have my camera with…luckily others did:

VMworld Key Announcements

Bye Bye vRAM
The biggest announcement from VMworld (ranked by pure audience applause) was the changing of vSphere licensing back to CPU only.  Our customers spoke and we listened, no more vRAM!

Hello vCloud Suite
The second biggest announcement was the introduction of the vCloud Suite and new versions for a number of the Suite components.  Net Net, the vCloud Suite is an integrated solution for building and managing a complete cloud infrastructure fulfills the promise of the software-defined data center. vCloud Suite components include:

vCloud Suite is avaiable in Three Editions: Standard, Advanced, and Enterprise to provide increasing functionality based on a user’s requirements. Following in the footsteps of vSphere, the vCloud Suite Editions are licensed based on the physical CPUs upon which will be running vCloud Suite. Existing VMware customers can also upgrade from their current products to vCloud Suite under the newly announced Fair Value Conversion Program.

Here is a list of PDF Whitepapers that were released as part of the Suite announcement

Of course, always check out the vSphere 5.1 Documentation Center, vSphere Configuration Maximums, VMware Product Interoperability Matrix (Not all Products will work with vSphere 5.1 right away!)

vCloud Suite Components a la carte
All the components of vCloud Suite are still available individually (a la carte).  The licensing for the individual compenents has not changed, they are still licensed by VM, not by CPU.


Evolution of vCenter Server
As part of vSphere 5.1 release that was announced at VMworld, vCenter Server 5.1 is a major evolution. This release is the first to have a fully functional web based UI and Linux virtual appliance based service architecture.  Going forward, the single sign-on infrastructure of vCenter Server will converge with other VMware web UIs.  The classic Windows vCenter Server is also available in vSphere 5.1.

Preview of Horizon Suite
Horizon Suite is a platform to make it easier for administrators to both manage the challenges associated with mobility, cloud, and employee BYOD while also providing the most productive and enjoyable computing experience on the devices internal customers choose.  Horizon Suite brings together:

  • VMware View
  • VMware Mirage (Wanova Mirage)
  • VMware ThinApp
  • VMware Horizon Application Manager
  • VMware Horizon Mobile
  • VMware Horizon Data (Project Octopus)
  • Project AppBlast
  • Support select 3rd Party end user computing solutions

The beta version of Horizon Suite is expected to be available in Q4 2012

Additional VMworld ReCaps

I found these other blog posts to be wonderful recaps of the show:

VMware View 5.1 & New View Clients Available

Today VMware View 5.1 is available for download.  While additional details are available in the release notes, here are highlights of the changes in 5.1:

  • Storage performance optimization & integration options leveraging vSphere
    • View Storage Accelerator:
    • View Composer API Integration(Tech Preview):
    • Customizable View Composer disposable disk driver letter
    • Support up to 32 ( increased from 8 ) host in a cluster when Network Attached Storage is in use
  • USB redirection enhancement
  • RADIUS based two-factor authentication support
  • Admin UI usability and performance enhancements
  • Support pre-created Active Directory machine accounts
  • Customer Experience Improvement Program
  • Persona Management for physical devices
  • Persona Management as a XP to Win7 migration tool
  • Support Installation of View Composer server in a standalone server separate from vCenter server
  • A set of new View Clients
  • Continue PCoIP protocol performance enhancements

A new release of the View Clients is also available on the View Client Download Center.  New features and enhancements in the View Clients include:

  •  What’s New in ALL View Clients
    • Optimized for VMware View 5.1
    • Up to 3X better video playback performance
    • Improved mouse responsiveness in virtual machine
    • RADIUS two factor authentication with VMware View 5.1
  • What’s New in ALL Mobile View Clients 1.5
    • Save password option if administrator enables new VMware View 5.1 policy
    • French, German, Spanish keyboard support with VMware View 5.1
    • Direct Korean language input support with VMware View 5.1
    • Touch in text fields brings up keyboard with VMware View 5.1
  • Windows – What’s New in View Client 5.1
    • Local mode supports hardware version 8 virtual machines with VMware View 5.1
  • Linux – What’s New in View Client 1.5
    • New ARM based Linux client for Thin Client partner integration
  • Mac – What’s New in View Client 1.5
    • Initial support for Mac OS X Mountain Lion
    • Greatly improved audio/video synchronization
    • Resolve mouse tracking problems when switching to and from View client
  • iPad –  What’s New in View Client 1.5
    • Support for the new iPad
    • Updated look and feel
    • Extended software keyboard keys no longer cover Start menu and task bar with external keyboards
  • Android – What’s New in View Client 1.5
    • Support for Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)
    • Mouse support with hover, right click and scroll wheel on ICS
    • Updated look and feel and improvements for smaller screens
    • New Settings dialog includes security mode settings

Some My VMware Gotchas To Be Aware Of

latoga’s Guide to My VMware

  1. Say Hello to My VMware (Portal)
  2. My VMware Quick Overview
  3. My VMware Users and Roles
  4. My VMware for Most of Us
  5. My VMware for the Super Us(er)
  6. Some My VMware Gotchas To Be Aware Of

— Note (20120420) —

Please keep in mind that when my clients or I work with the portal, we’re usually dealing with literally hundreds of different licenses, order, contracts, and historic support requests that are spread across multiple divisions and business units of Fortune 100 enterprises.  As a result, many of these gotcha’s may not apply to all users.

The My VMware team is working daily to improve the system and polish off any rough edges.  I’m also working closely with the My VMware team and will update this list as items are resolved or work arounds created.


Here are some of the gotchas that I came across while working with the My VMware beta. Hopefully these will save you some time as you get used to the new portal.

Missing Entitlements? Are you Looking at the Right Account?

Users can be granted access to multiple accounts.  When you log into the portal you may not see the licenses/contracts/orders that you are looking for.  Check the “View Account” drop down in the upper right hand corner to ensure you are viewing the correct account.  Only one account can be viewed/managed at a time.

My VMware Account Selection Drop-Down

Working with License Keys

After you complete a task within the License Key area, make sure you check the “I want to” dropdown box.  Once you complete a task, it appears to always default you back to “View License Keys”, not the task area you just completed.  It can be a bit confusing if you’re trying to do a bunch of license key management (like a Super User organizing your license keys on the first day) because you keep getting pulled away from the area you were working in after each task completes.

Creating Folders

Make sure you select “Home” folder or a Sub-Folder in order to activate the “Create Folder” option.

Moving Folders (20120420)

The portal is able to move only one folder at a time. While you can select multiple folder, there currently is no way to move multiple folders at one time.

If you have a large number of folders in your Account as a result of the My VMware migration, it may be difficult to find new folders you created as part of implementing your organization system.  One quick solution (that can easily be backed out in the future) is to name all your new folders starting with a – (dash).  This will force those folders to be sorted at the top of your folder list. And, luckily, they will appear right below the folders that get automatically created when new orders are placed.  After you clean up all the other folders, you can simply rename your organization folders to remove the preceding dash.

Organizing License Keys with Folders & Granting Access

If you’re going to organize a number of split license keys and grant access to these keys to a number of members of your team I suggest you follow this process to save you time and mouse clicks:

  1. Determine your folders structure and naming conventions
  2. Create as many of your folders as possible at one time
  3. One by one, grant a users access to all appropriate folders at one time. (There is no way to search for existing users like in the old License Portal, so you have to enter their name and email each time you grant them access to a folder.  Thus give them access to all folders at once and then move on to the next user).
  4. Review and set the specific access permissions for each folder created. (You can’t change default permissions while granting a user access to a folder.)

Super User Bulk Changing of Permissions 

My VMware doesn’t allow bulk changing of permissions across folders.  The best way to accomplish this is to “Copy User Permissions” across folders.  See Next Gotcha…

Copying User Permissions Across Folders

Personally, I was confused by this the first time I did it.  First select the user who has permission you want to copy, then choose “copy user permissions” option.  In the pop-up window, select target users who will get those permissions.

Note: This will copy all those users’ permissions for all the folders they have access to.  There doesn’t seem to be a way to copy just permissions for one or two folders, so if you have a complex set of folders and users use this feature cautiously.

Selecting Folders to Set Permissions – [Confirm]

When you click a SuperSet permission (it won’t deselect while the sub options are selected, you need to first deselect sub options and then you can deselect superset options.

License Summary View for Selected Folders

When you select a folder from the folder list, the license summary section updates to show you a total number of licenses for all the products contained in all selected folders. It will not automatically include licenses from subfolders.  You have to specifically selected those subfolders to get them included in the summary.  This is because both the parent folder and the sub folder could contain license keys.

Searching License Keys

As of publishing, you can’t search license keys based on the “Notes” field.  I now many clients use this field to help them organize their license keys in the old license portal by placing a business unit or group tag within the field.  Since you can’t search the license keys based upon this field, organizing your keys may take a bit more time as you will have to expand each license key while organizing.

Adding Notes to Split License Keys

If you use the notes field as part of your license key tracking or management, then you’ll have to edit the notes for newly generated licenses keys as a second step after you split the original key.  The current system doesn’t allow you to add a note to a newly generated license key during the key splitting process.

Organizing License Keys from Different Products

You can only move license keys from one product at a time within the portal. While you can select multiple license keys for the same product to be moved at once (i.e, vSphere 5),  if you switch your view to another product (i.e., vCenter Server 5) you lose all your original selections.  You’ll have to organize your vSphere keys and vCenter Server keys in two separate steps.


My VMware for the Super Us(er)

latoga’s Guide to My VMware

  1. Say Hello to My VMware (Portal)
  2. My VMware Quick Overview
  3. My VMware Users and Roles
  4. My VMware for Most of Us
  5. My VMware for the Super Us(er)
  6. Some My VMware Gotchas To Be Aware Of

For Super Users and the Procurement Contacts, please consider these two users interchangeably unless otherwise noted, the key items of note about My VMware is how to manage licnese keys and Orders/Contracts.  The new portal has a number of features that provide more control to Super Users and Procurement Contacts regarding distributing license keys across their organization as well as keeping all those keys organized.

I urge all Super Users to take some time to become familiar with My VMware and the new level of visibility they have to Accounts and Entitlements for their organizations. They should also keep in mind that changes they make to License Key organizations can have impact to other My VMware users within their organizations.


As part of the My VMware launch, there was also a consolidation of account records within the VMware Orders/Contracts system.  Over the years a single company may have had multiple people (say from different Business Units) buy licenses from VMware.  Each order could have created a separate record in the VMware systems.  My VMware worked to consolidate all these record under the Super User (with some exceptions for larger customers).  As a result, the Super User will be able to see all orders, support contracts, license keys, and Support Requests within their organization.

My VMware Order History Screen

It is still possible that any user within My VMware would have access to multiple Accounts.  Any user can switch between accounts by using the dropdown in the upper right hand corner of My VMware.  The portal only allows you to work within one Account at a time.  So if you don’t see something that you are expecting to be within your portal, check to make sure you are working within the correct Account.

My VMware Account Selection Drop-Down

Software License Keys

First, a quick note about ELAs: the ELA license keys are typically assigned to the Super User.  One of the biggest advantages of My VMware is the increased control over ELA key distribution provided to the Super User.  Prior ELA customer usually ended up with multiple people inside their organization with access to the full ELA key; under My VMware the Super user can divide ELA keys and give access to a subset of the ELA to those who need it, and just the number of licenses they need.

The big change in My VMware is the ability to organize license keys into folders.  Everyone has a default “Home” Folder and if you were a PLA or SLA in the old system, a folder with their full name in which all your license keys were deposited. Super Users will see in their named folder the keys for which they were PLA; they might also see folders with the names of other individuals in your company that were PLA for other orders.You will now have the ability to organize these keys in a way that makes sense for your organization.  I can foresee this being broken down by Business Unit or Group Name and then possible further by physical location the licenses are deployed (see below screen shot with mocked up example).

My VMware Move License Keys Screen

Some thought should be put into the organization of the License Keys by the Super User.  The process of moving and granting permissions to license keys contains a number of steps…you won’t want to be redoing this once you start.  See the My VMware Gotchas before starting.

Super Users will want to communicate and coordinate across all the VMware users within their organization before doing major organization of keys within folders and granting access to these folders.  If a Super User moves license keys around from folders with another User’s name or renames those folders those changes will instantly appear within those User’s accounts.  This could be confusing with adequate communication as users will have see their folder names and permissions change between two logins.

Full Details in the Knowledge Base:

My VMware for Most of Us

latoga’s Guide to My VMware

  1. Say Hello to My VMware (Portal)
  2. My VMware Quick Overview
  3. My VMware Users and Roles
  4. My VMware for Most of Us
  5. My VMware for the Super Us(er)
  6. Some My VMware Gotchas To Be Aware Of

I anticipate most users of My VMware will be focused on a few key tasks like:

  • Working with License Keys
  • Managing Support Cases
  • Downloading software

Working with License Keys

I image most people outside of the Procurement Contact will need to work with License Keys in some form or fashion.  In general, license keys haven’t changed from the old licensing portal.  You’ll see a collection of license keys for each VMware product that you own. Any notes that were entered in the license keys will still be there in My VMware.

The big change in My VMware is the ability to organize license keys into folders.  Everyone has a default “Home” Folder and, if you were a PLA or SLA, a folder with their full name in which all your license keys were deposited. You will now have the ability to organize these keys in a way that makes sense for your organization.  I can forsee this being broken down by Business Unit or Group Name and then possible further by physical location the licenses are deployed (see below screen shot with mocked up example).

My VMware Move License Keys Screen

In the end, it’s up to each user or team to come up with a logical organization system that works for them.  Create folders, name them, re-name them, nest them…it’s up to you.

A few Licenses Key items to note:

  • When another user grants you access to a license key, they create a folder and placing that license key into that folder. You are granted access at the folder level.  So once that happens, you’ll see this new folder appear within your Home folder.  Most of the time users receiving licenses may not have the ability to move or rename this folder (it depends on the permissions the granting user gives you).
  • A larger organization may eventually have the Super User define a folder organization structure for them to optimally manage the license keys for the enterprise.  This may cause other user’s folders to change.

Managing Support Cases

If you need to open a new Support Case or check on the status of an existing Support Case, you can do it all under the “Support” menu of My VMware.

Users will have the ability to see all support cases they have ever opened with VMware Support and search thru the history.  Once nice feature is the ability to search your Support History for specific or all Accounts you have access to (Super Users have additional visibility and can see all Support Cases for all Accounts they are Super User for)

My VMware Support Case History Screen

Downloading software

My VMware also provides links to allow you to download software quickly from within the Portal.  Evaluations, betas, trials, appliances, product downloads, they are all just one click away under the “Product and Downloads” menu of the portal.  Most of these will link you to the download locations that you are already familiar with.

My VMware Products & Downloads Home Screen

Full Details in the Knowledge Base: