VMWare vSAN 2-node + Witness Deployments & vSphere Essentials Plus licensing…

Recently, my team started looking into potentially spec’ing vSAN for a client hardware refresh.

While doing our due diligence, I came across an interesting point about licensing here.

To sum up the scenario:

  • The Essentials and Essentials Plus kits provide licensing for 3 hosts
  • Each host in your 2-node cluster consume a license.
  • Since the witness appliance IS an ESXi host, it counts as a host towards licensing.
  • But the appliance has to run on an ESXi host, but CAN’T run on the cluster.
  • So, you’ll need a host to run the witness appliance.
  • However, you can’t add it to vCenter, because you’re out of licensing at that point.

All in all, my general feeling is that if you’re considering vSAN, perhaps Essentials/Essentials Plus licensing isn’t for you.

Another point worth mentioning is that you only get per-incident support with Essentials/Essentials Plus, whereas you have the option of purchasing basic, production, or mission critical support.  Depending on your level of comfort with vSAN, this could be a factor for you.


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