As we are a small installation I've got the Essentials plus kit for 3 hosts (2 processors per host) and vcenter server essentials.
However can I connect more than 3 hosts to the VCenter server if those hosts are licenced seperately? (both technically and legally)
For example I could connect 3 hosts licenced through the essentials plus, plus my test host (licenced with the free version) and the host I bought originally that is simply ESXi but has it's own standard licence. Thus making 5 hosts on Vcenter server in total
"The vCenter for Essentials only supports 3 Hosts so no you can't add a 4th host to the vCenter for Essentials, worse still is that the 3 host licences you get with it can't work with a regular vCenter (Standard) later either - so you'd really limited if you go this way. I'd strongly advise going for one of the Standard or Advanced Acceleration Kits, they're more expensive today but don't limit you in the future."
Stolen from licensing - From vSphere Essentials Plus Kit to 4 hosts - Server Fault
I am in exactly the same boat, however I don't see it initially as a problem.
I am planning on putting in 3 hosts of more than adequate spec.
I really cannot see the need for a 4th host in the future - usually the only reason to add an additional host is if the first 3 are not able to be upgraded (RAM limit reached for example).
A typical secondary environment needs no more than 3 hosts with say 128GB RAM per host. Dell, HP, IBM hosts these days all support way in excess of 128GB of RAM. If the hosts have 2 quad or six core processors they will be more than sufficient for a typical environment.
Upshot - I wouldn't worry about it if you buy the right hosts to begin with.
Agreed, we went for the essentials plus for 3 hosts, bought 3 Dell R710's with Dual quad core processors, 48GB Memory each. Running around 14 virtual machines between them. I see no need for more hosts. Memory will be the issue which we can easily upgrade.
Cheers for the responses. Technically I have 5 hosts, however...
2 are licenced through the Essentials package, one is at a seperate site (so I need a seperate physical host), one is the free version running as a test bed. The last is our Bursary server which we bought first so has a standard licence for ESXI but was never bought with vcenter server as we only had one host. I was just trying to get all my hosts in one place.
It was worth a shot but given our setup the only benefit to me would be to re-licence the Bursary server as a exsi essentials host.