Increase Storage Utilization

VMware vSphere® Thin Provisioning allows over-allocation of storage capacity for increased storage utilization, enhanced application uptime and simplified storage capacity management. Eliminate the need to dedicate full capacity upfront while providing vSphere administrators with the capacity they need for future growth.

  • Allow administrators to dedicate more capacity to virtual machines than they have.
  • Eliminate the cost of unused, over-allocated storage.
  • Save resources and space by reducing your physical storage needs.

Enhance Application Uptime for Improved Business Continuity

Let storage administrators do their jobs without the need for extensive coordination between application owners and virtual machine owners.

  • Increase application uptime by not having to take them offline as often for maintenance.
  • Lessen the need for time-consuming cross-team coordination.

Simplify Storage Capacity Management

vSphere Thin Provisioning eliminates manual processes that drive up the cost of storage capacity management.

  • Safely manage storage capacity without complex coordination between different administrators.
  • Set alarms and alerts to safely thin provision storage to virtual machines.

Technical Details

Thick vs. Thin Virtual Disk Provisioning

When vSphere Thin Provisioning operates at the virtual disk level, VMware vSphere® administrators can allocate virtual disk files as “thick” or “thin” format. vSphere Thin Provisioning allows virtual machines on vSphere hosts to provision the entire space required for the disk’s current and future activities, but only commits as much storage space needed to store data. It cuts out the space that’s allocated but not used and grows as more data is stored in the virtual disk. In thick format, all of the needed storage space is committed from the outset.

vSphere Thin Provisioning lets you overcommit the datastores. This increases storage utilization by cutting down the amount of space that is allocated but not used. VMware® vCenter Server™ provides visibility into space allocations and space used, and issues alerts and alarms to inform the vSphere admin of a pending out-of-space condition or excessive over-commitment percentages.

Thin provisioned virtual machine disks are created more quickly and optimize the space usage. Once all of the thin or sparse disk’s blocks are allocated, they are no different from a thick disk.

Alarms and Reporting

vSphere Thin Provisioning is integrated with vCenter Server. Therefore, you can provide reports and set thresholds to proactively manage growth and capacity. In vSphere 5.5, if an array is compliant, the VMware vSphere® Storage APIs - Array Integration will automatically surface alarms in vCenter Server if you exceed the vSphere Thin Provisioning warning threshold (75 percent).

Oversubscription Protection

vSphere Thin Provisioning can lead to oversubscription. In vSphere, administrators can manage oversubscription using VMware vSphere® Storage vMotion® (which enables dynamic migration of VMDKs) or VMware vSphere® VMFS volume growth (which provides the ability to dynamically increase datastore size).