Upgrading VMware vSphere License Keys

You must obtain new licenses to deploy VMware vSphere® 5.x. Existing VMware vSphere 4 licenses for versions prior to 5.x will not work on vSphere 5.0, 5.1 or 5.5.

Upgrade Eligibility

Licenses will be upgraded to the new version according to these rules:

  • Only licenses, or portion of licenses, that have active support and subscription contracts as of the day when VMware vSphere 5.5 becomes generally available (in the following known as "the GA date") will be eligible for upgrade. If subscription has expired or will expire prior to the GA date you will retain access to any existing VMware vSphere licenses, but you will not be eligible to upgrade to VMware vSphere 5.5 license keys.
  • If your support and subscription has expired prior to the GA date you can choose to reinstate it later. If you do so, you will be eligible to upgrade to VMware vSphere 5 licenses at that time.
  • The permissions associated with the folder where the license key sits.

How to Get Your vSphere 5.5 Licenses

To upgrade a product to the new version:

  • Log into My VMware using your VMware.com account credentials.
  • Go to Accounts > License Keys. Alternatively, when you receive an alert for subscription upgrade, click Upgrade Licenses in the alert. This takes you to the License Keys page. If the alert is not appearing in the Alerts Overview, click View all Alerts to see the complete list of alerts.
  • Select Upgrade License Keys from the I want to dropdown. Note: If no folders or products appear, you may not have permissions to upgrade license keys on any of the folders or there may not be any license keys available for upgrade.
  • Select the folders you have access to from the folder list. All products that you are entitled to upgrade display. When you select the product you want to upgrade, you see all of the licenses for that particular product.
  • To filter the data, expand the filter and input the order number, contract number, license key, or other search criteria, and click Apply Filter. The related product that is eligible for upgrade displays in the results.
  • You are prompted to enter the quantity of licenses you want to upgrade. You can select all or a few licenses. This number should be one or more and up to the total number of upgradeable license keys.

The system deactivates your current license for you. The new licenses are delivered in the same folder as the original license key. If any quantities of the current key remain un-upgraded, new licenses keys are generated for the remaining portion of the current product and be displayed in the confirmation process.

The ability to upgrade a license key depends on:

  • The permissions associated with the folder where the license key sits.
  • Eligibility of license entitlement for subscription upgrade (associated to the license key).
  • The date the new product version becomes available.

If you cannot upgrade, contact the Super User associated with that particular account or VMware Support

Expected Timeframe to Receive Your vSphere License Keys

Upgrades will be available on the portal shortly after VMware vSphere 5.5 becomes generally available. All license keys with active support and subscription contracts with an end date on or after General Availability are eligible for an upgrade.

Entitlement Mapping

The following table explains how your VMware vSphere 4 licenses will be mapped to VMware vSphere 5.x. Customers who currently have vSphere 4 Advanced edition will be mapped to vSphere 5.x Enterprise edition.

VMware vSphere 4.x Edition VMware vSphere 5.x Edition
Enterprise Plus Enterprise Plus
Enterprise Enterprise
Advanced Enterprise
Standard Standard
Essentials Plus Essentials Plus
Essentials Essentials

Preparing for Your License Upgrade

In order to ensure a problem-free license upgrade, VMware requests your cooperation in verifying that your license and subscription data are correct. Please take the time to review your account and contact Support if the information is not consistent with your expectation. If corrections are needed it is preferable to make them prior to the delivery of your VMware vSphere 5.5 licenses.

1. Review Your Support Contracts

Go to Support Contract History under Account after logging into My VMware and, using the same login, review your support contracts. Review the status and end-dates of all contracts that contain vSphere 4 and vCenter 4 components. If some contracts are expired or have an end-date before the General Availability (GA) date for vSphere 5.5, you will not be eligible to upgrade your licenses to VMware vSphere 5.5 for the quantities on those contracts. To request a renewal or reinstatement of contracts, use the Request Quote button in the Support Contract Details page.

vSphere Support Contract Screenshot

2. Verify Your Role

Go to Account > User & Permissions after logging into My VMware and verify your permission on each of the folders.

The ability to upgrade a license key depends on:

  • The permissions associated with the folder where the license key sits.
  • Eligibility of license entitlement for subscription upgrade (associated to the license key).
  • The date the new product version becomes available.

On the date a new version of a product becomes available, you will receive an alert that you are entitled to the new version of your current product. (see Upgrade Eligibility above). The Super User of the account has the ability to grant and remove permissions on the folder.

Users and permissions screenshot

Version Downgrade

Downgrading from vSphere 5.5 to a previous version of vSphere 4

  • Log into My VMware using your VMware.com account credentials.
  • Go to Accounts > License Keys.
  • Select Downgrade License Keys from the I want to dropdown. Note: If no folders or products appear, you may not have permissions to downgrade license keys on any of the folders or there may not be any license keys available for downgrade.
  • Select the folders you have access to from the folder list. All products that you are entitled to downgrade display. When you select the product you want to downgrade, you see all of the licenses for that particular product.
  • To filter the data, expand the filter and input the order number, contract number, license key, or other search criteria, and click Apply Filter. The related product that is eligible for downgrade displays in the results.

You are prompted to enter the quantity of licenses you want to downgrade. You can select all or a few licenses. This number should be one or more and up to the total number of license keys that are eligible for downgrade.

vSphere Licensing Roles

Visit the My VMware FAQs “Role Definitions” to learn about vSphere licensing roles.

Further Licensing Questions

For additional questions related to licensing, contact Support.