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To renew the trial status of an existing ESXi 5.1 install:

  1. Perform a fresh install of ESXi 5.1 in a virtual machine (choose your poison for hypervisor – I use VirtualBox)
  2. Copy the /etc/vmware/license.cfg and /etc/vmware/vmware.lic files or contents of the files from the fresh install you just performed to the existing ESXi 5.1 host
  3. /sbin/services.sh restart vpxa
  4. Viola!

To renew the trial status of an existing vCenter Server Appliance (VCSA):

  1. Backup DB:
    service vmware-vpxd stop
    mkdir /tmp/bakup
    chown db2inst1: /tmp/bakup
    su – db2inst1
    db2 force applications all
    db2 backup db vcdb to /tmp/bakup
  2. Copy the file locally (winscp from /tmp/bakup)
  3. Remove the VCSA VM and rename the folder to something like VCSA.old
  4. Re-import the appliance from scratch via OVF, sys and data disks
  5. Reduce the vRAM from 8GB to 4GB and start the new VCSA VM
  6. Configure the IP address and time settings
  7. Connect to https://<IP address of VCSA>:5480
  8. Accept the EULA and login (user: root, pass: vmware)
  9. Configure DB
  10. Restore DB
    service vmware-vpxd stop
    mkdir /tmp/bakup
    chown db2inst1:/tmp/bakup
    Copy file to new VCSA (winscp to /tmp/bakup)
    chown db2inst1:/tmp/bakup/VCDB*
    su – db2inst1
    db2 restore db vcdb from /tmp/bakup replace existing
    service vmware-vpxd start
  11. Connect to new VCSA via vSphere client
  12. Reconnect to each ESXi server by right clicking on each in the VCSA inventory

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the full trial licensing agreement for vSphere 5.1 and don’t condone the use of this information to break that or any licensing agreement… ever… for any reason… nuff said…

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