Recently I’ve received the following question: “I want to use vCenter Operations Manager Advanced, but only for a subset of virtual machines and ESXi hosts available in vCenter Server. Only the production environment should be licensed. The development, test and acceptance should remain unlicensed, at least for vCenter Operations Manager.”
In this case vCops per VM licensing is used, which means that all virtual machines vCenter Operations Manager analyzes should be licensed. Unfortunately vCops doesn’t have the ability to create a selection of virtual machines you want to monitor. So, what’s the trick here?
You can create this selection of virtual machines for vCops by making use of vCenter Server permissions. First create a user which vCenter Operations Manager will use to connect to the vCenter Server (note: this is something you should always do). Link this user to the objects you want to monitor. Most of the time you will links this user to the to-be-monitored vSphere cluster(s). Configure the permission both in the Host & Clusters View and Virtual Machines & Templates view. Assure that the cluster(s) doesn’t contain more virtual machines than vCops licenses in posession. Don’t forget to check “Propagate to child objects” when setting the permission.
Now configure this new vCops user as the collection user in vCenter Operations through the vCops administration interface https://vcops.domain.local/admin. After completion you’re all set. It is important you follow this procedure before connecting vCops for the first time to your vCenter Server. You cannot do it afterwards and thus it’s not possible “to remove” objects from vCops!
After following this procedure vCenter Operations Manager will only monitor the selected virtual machines, and will only use licenses for these virtual machines!
Check VMware KB article 1036195 for additional info on this topic.