During the installation of a really small vSphere environment, I used the 60 days instand-on license. This allows me to use some fancy vSphere Enterprise Plus feature during the installation. Specifically I use host profiles to configure the ESXi hosts. At the end of the installation process I removed the host profiles and installed the Essentials Plus license. The enviroment consisted of two HP ProLiant DL360 Gen8, a dual-fabric SAN with a HP MSA 2040, two Brocade 300 FC switches, some more stuff and a vSphere Essentials Plus license. The customer and I decided to install VMware vCenter 5.5.0b and ESXi 5.5.
So far I believed that the vSphere Essentials Plus doesn’t supports VAAI, because it’s not part of the license. According to VMware KB1021976 VAAI is only available in the Enterprise and Enterprise Plus license. This underlines the statement on the VMware homepage regarding the comparision of vSphere editions.
While using on the instant-on license, VAAI was certainly used by the hypervisor. Later, after the installation of the Essentials Plus license, I had to deploy a few Windows 2008 R2 VMs and this was incredible fast. Not that I would have expected that the MSA 2040 is a lame snail, but that was so fast that I had to check it. ESXCLI told me, that VAAI is supported. I expected this, becuase the HP MSA 2040 supports VAAI.
# esxcli storage core device vaai status get naa.600c0ff0001a833d6036cd5202000000 VAAI Plugin Name: ATS Status: supported Clone Status: supported Zero Status: supported Delete Status: unsupported
The vSphere Client told me the same:
During a VM deployment I checked the VAAI stats with ESXTOP
And this I did not expect. You can clearly see that VAAI is utilized – by a Essentials Plus licensed host! I asked on Twitter if anyone has an explanation for this observation, but even Cormac Hogan had no real explanation for this.
— Cormac Hogan (@CormacJHogan) January 16, 2014
A guess on my part is that the function is still activated as long as the host is not rebooted. I had no chance to investigate this more further.
After tweeting about this blog post Markus Löffler wrote:
— Markus Löffler (@loefflerman) January 18, 2014
This confirms my suspicion, that VAAI is gone after a reboot. Too bad. I thought I have cracked the licensing. ;)
Manfred Hofer has discovered that VAAI will continue working, even after a reboot! He blogged about his experience: Things you should know (TYSK) – VAAI and Licensing Thanks for sharing this finding!
Manfred updates his blog post: Things you should know (TYSK) – VAAI and Licensing. VAAI works in every vSphere license, but the usage is restricted by the EULA. If you’re not using a vSphere Enterprise Plus license, you should disable VAAI (check VMware KB1033665 – Disabling the VAAI functionality in ESXi/ESX). Otherweise you violate the EULA.
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