vCenter Operations Manager – Caught out by new Solution Licensing step

In a few recent posts, I’ve been looking at performance counters in vSphere 5.1. One of my colleagues, Hugo Strydom, reached out to me about doing a vCenter Operations (vCOps) custom dashboard to monitor the new Storage I/O Control (SIOC) counters in vSphere 5.1 which I detailed here. Hugo has done a whole series of great blog posts on vCOps on his blog site. I thought it would really cool to get this setup on my environment and take a look.

The deployment was pretty straight forward, and pretty soon I was ready to start monitoring my environment and build out the vCOps custom dashboard for my new SIOC counters. Unfortunately, I got hit with the following message when trying to login to  vCOps: This product is unlicensed or cannot connect to the vSphere Server. Use a vSphere Client to connect to the vCenter Server and assign a license key:

Now, I had clearly added a vCOps license to my vCenter, so I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. I checked the admin portal on my vCOps appliance, and it was also reporting the license status as unlicensed:

I found one reference to the license message in KB 2037573 but the recommended action (Update) didn’t help. The issue turned out to be a new 5.1 licensing feature called Solutions. vCOps is now considered a solution, so it is simply not enough to add the license key – you must also assign the license key to the vCenter Operation Manager Solution. Under Licenses, select the Solutions tab, select the vCOps entry, and click on Assign License Key.

This will now license your vCOPs deployment, and allow you to successfully login to  vCOPs. To give you some idea of the sorts of things you can create on a custom dashboard, here is a snippet of what Hugo created around the new SIOC statistics in vSphere 5.1.

This is looking at SIOC activity on my Storage DRS datastore clusters which in turn are being used for provisioning my vCloud vApps from vCloud Director. So in this case, it is very useful to see SIOC activity. I’m hoping to do a follow-up post to show how you can create such a dashboard. It looks to be a very powerful utility indeed. But remember that you have to get the product correct licensed before you can do this :-)

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