1. Purchase Your VMware Products

When you purchase VMware products, vSphere 5 / vCenter 5 keys will be available in the Licenses page of My VMware

2. Downgrade vSphere 5 / vCenter 5
  • Log into My VMware using your VMware.com account credentials.
  • Click the Downgrade to VMware Virtual Infrastructure 3 (VI3) in the top right corner of the page.
  • On the Downgrade Orders to VI3 page, expand the order details to see the products associated with the order.
  • Select the order that contains the product you want to downgrade and click Continue.
  • A Confirm Order Downgrade window asks you to verify your selection. Click Confirm to verify your selection.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to process the downgrade. You will receive an email confirming that your VI3 licenses are ready to be used.

3. Activate Software Licenses by Generating License Files

To generate and retrieve your license files, follow this basic procedure on the Manage Licenses Page of the VI 3 License Portal :

  • Click Generate New License File.
  • Select the appropriate licensing model and click Next.

    Centralized License Server – A single license file holding your licenses is stored on a license server. The license server manages an entire license pool, making licenses available to one or more hosts. When a host requires a particular licensed functionality, the license key for that functionality is temporarily checked out from the license pool. Unused license keys are released to the pool, becoming available again to any hosts. This model simplifies license administration by allowing allocation and re-allocation of licenses from a single location.

    Single Host – Created license files are stored on individual VMware ESX hosts. Unused licenses are not automatically distributed, and licensing can occur without an external connection.
  • Enter the number of licenses you want to redeem and click Next.

    Note: Some products, such as ESX Server, require licenses to be activated on a per CPU basis and in powers of two. For example, to generate a license file for a 4-CPU host, enter 2 to activate two ESX Server license units. For all other licenses, enter the exact number of licenses to include in the license file.
  • Enter a comment for your license file, if desired.

    The comments can act as an internal name system when generating multiple license files. For example, you can enter the name of the server where the file will reside or the name of the specific project for which the file is created. The comments you enter appear in the My License Files table on the Manage Licenses page.
  • Click Finish to generate your license file.
  • Select a method to retrieve your license file.

    Download your license file to your local hard disk or send it as an email attachment.

For detailed information on the license file activation process, see the License Management Portal Online Help.


4. Install the License Files to Enable Your Products

Download your VMware products from the Product Downloads page. Install the license files retrieved from the License Management Portal to enable product features during product installation.


If you have any questions on the license activation process, contact VMware Support.