VMware vCenter Desktop and vCenter Standard Licensing
Having meeting many customer with big and small environment, projects or used cases for certain requirements. There were some question revolving around vCenter licensing especially for the desktop related.
Here is an article of the FAQ on vSphere Desktop licensing. One of the question in this article states:
Q. Do I need a separate vCenter Server for my VDI hosts?
A. Yes, like Horizon 7 deployments on vSphere 5.x, you will need a separate VMware vCenter Server® for your VDI hosts. vCenter is not included in vSphere Desktop.
Let me further explain the above. If you are running a 3rd party VDI solution riding on vSphere Desktop licensing, vCenter is not included. You would need to purchase vCenter Standard to manage that environment.
However if you are a Horizon customer, the bundle include vCenter Desktop use to manage a vSphere Desktop environment.
You now will asked, what about using 3rd parties VDI, why don't I purchase vCenter Desktop instead of vCenter Standard. The answer is, vCenter Desktop is not for sale and is only available in Horizon Bundle. That also explains why running 3rd parties VDI on top of vSphere always cost more and its always more cost effective just to run Horizon VDI.
Next common ask will be can I manage vSphere Desktop environment and Infra vSphere environment with one single vCenter?
The answer is not recommended but you can with caveats. Not recommended is because of the way VDI runs we typically want to keep it separate and the load on the vCenter are typically high as VDI are highly dense and have lots of activities.
Let's address with 3rd parties VDI and with Horizon.
For 3rd Parties VDI, you will need to complete your purchase of vCenter Standard and vSphere Desktop for the VDI environment. You will then have a Infra environment with the normal vSphere Standard/Enterprise Plus with a vCenter Standard. You notice each environment must have their vCenter. After owning two vCenter licenses, one for each, will you be able to utilize one to manage both environment. This is part of End User Licensing Agreement.
For Horizon customer, since the bundle already comes with vCenter Desktop, customer would need to have a copy of a vCenter Standard for the infra environment will they be allowed to use one vCenter to manage both environment.
Hope this explains better if you do have an environment that really need a vCenter to manage both.