Licensing VMware SRM 5.0

Had a small issue with VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) 5.0 today when performing a real failover of a single VM with a customer of mine. Nothing big, just using one VM one protection group, showing them that a failover would work. After recovery went fine, I started the reprotection and ran into a licensing error: “Not enough licenses”.


This customer had bought a 25 VM license pack and received one license key for this. I had entered this key in vCenter on site-A but I hadn’t entered this on site-B, because I was under the impression that in a Linked-Clone scenario the license could be used by both sites.

Digging through the admin guide I found the following:

SRM requires a license key that specifies the maximum number of protected virtual machines at a site. Larger licenses are often required when protecting large numbers of virtual machines.
–       Install keys at one site to enable failover.
–       Install keys at both sites to enable bidirectional operation including reprotection.
If your SRM Servers are connected with linked vCenter Servers, the SRM servers can share the same license key

I have always read this like: “Install the license key at one site and the other site knows about the key and will “share” the license”. While testing this at first install I never noticed this was an incorrect ‘translation’ because VMware SRM runs in evaluation mode if you don’t enter a license. After entering the 25VM license in site-A, the eval mode in site-B never complained when testing failover and reprotecting. But today the evaluation period had ended and when reprotecting the recovery plan, I did get the license error. I solved it by entering the same license key on site-B as I had used on site-A.


My conclusion: When using SRM 5 in a linked mode scenario, you should re-use the same license key on both sites.

My question to you: Would you agree different wording in this part of the admin guide could have made things more clear or did this just got lost in my translation? Let me know in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Licensing VMware SRM 5.0

  1. Hi Gabe,
    I’d agree with you, the wording is not clear in my opinion.
    The other thing which is not clear (at least for me) is the licensing of SRM Standard Edition. When I read the FAQ’s for SRM it says: 75 protected virtual machines per physical site and per Site Recovery Manager instance. For me, this means you could initially protect 75 VM’s on site A and 75 VM’s on site B. But what happens if you failover 75 VM’s from one site to the other? Do you violate licensing now? Because at this time you’d protect 150 VM’s on one physical site/instance and not only 75VM’s. Do you know if this is allowed?

  2. my doubt is why just not use vCenter Linked-Mode? Would be easier or it brings problems when using SRM scenarios?

  3. Actually, I would read it like this: you can license 75VMs. Those 75VMs have to be in the same site and can only run in one SRM instance. Which means in your scenario it wouldn’t even be legal to start with if you protect 75VMs on Site A and 75 on Site B.

  4. I was using vCenter Linked-Mode. It can SEE the licenses from both sites, but it will only substract a license per protected VM from the vCenter where the VM runs. 

  5. Hi Gabe,

    I asked Michael White from VMware about that and he told me that you are not violating licensing if you have Site A with 75 Protected VM’s and also a Site B with 75 Protected VM’s. The failover to the other Site is considered a temporary situation and as long as you fail them back, it’s all good.

  6. yes that’s right. Maybe this was not clear enough in my initial question but I meant if you have 75 licenses for both sites. Anyway, thanks for your answers. :)

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