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ESXi 4.1

Posted on 2011-02-22
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
hi

there appears to be a capacity limit of 256gb on our esxi box.  is this correct?

thanks
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Question by:CHI-LTD
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14 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34953481
Yes, if the block size for your datastore is set to 1MB. You can change the block size to either 2MB, 4MB, or 8MB and have different size virtual disks for your VMs (512GB, 1TB, and 2TB respectively).

~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
ID: 34953532
See:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003565. **Performing the procedure to change the block size wipes the datastore (i.e. deletes the VMs/data) so make sure you move your VMs before doing so**.

Is your datastore on the same disks/array as your hypervisor install? If so, changing the block size is a bit more tedious:
http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/11/11/changing-the-block-size-of-your-local-vmfs-during-the-install/

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34953605
ah just noticed:

Product Features:
Up to 256gb of memory on config tab of ESX server!
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34953640
Oh, you meant memory...not virtual disk size limitation? hahaha

Yeah, there's a matrix that shows the limitation with each version/Edition:
http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/buy/small_business_editions_comparison.html
and here that shows vSphere Hypervisor (free edition):
http://www.vmware.com/vmwarestore/vsphere_smbpurchaseoptions.html

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34959486
sorry my miskate, ignore last post.
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34959741
Ok. Did I answer what you are looking for?

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34960059
hi. no, unfortunately.
the disk provisioning limit is 256gb.  how do i increase this?
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34960090
sorry i shoudl read your link in more detail.

the server is VMFS 3.46 with block size of 1mb.  A reformat of the servers disk is required????
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34960259
Yes, you have to increase the block size to the size which you want to have a max virt disk size. So, if you want to be able to have no more than a 512GB virtual disk for a VM, you need to change the block size of the datastore to 2MB; 1TB virt disk = 4MB; 2TB virt disk = 8MB. The only way to change the block size is to remove the datastore, then re-add it with the appropriate block size (configurable in the Add Storage wizard). But, when you remove/add the datastore back, you reformat the datastore, causing all VMs/data to be deleted. So, what you will need to do first is migrate your VMs from that datastore to another storage location. If that is your only datastore, you can use Veeam FastSCP to copy the VMs to your PC (VMs need to be powered down for this to work)...either locally if you have the disk space to house your VMs, or you can connect an external USB storage drive to place them on. Remove your datastore/re-add it with the appropriate block size, then copy the VMs back. When you power on your VMs, it may display "did you copy or move the VM", or something like that...just select 'copy'.
FastSCP: http://www.veeam.com/vmware-esxi-fastscp.html

~coolsport00
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34960342
this is our live system and only esx host, so how reliable is this process?
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Expert Comment

by:coolsport00
ID: 34960364
Well, it's as reliable as the KBs I posted. :)

What is your host setup like, as far as storage? Do you have separate arrays for the ESXi install and datastore? Do you just have 1 array for the whole thing...ESXi and datastore storage?
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Author Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 34962009
1x array which is local to the serrver.
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Accepted Solution

by:
coolsport00 earned 500 total points
ID: 34962361
Ok...so ESXi and your datastore is part of this single array then? EEeeek! Ok...it's a bit more ugly that way. You have 2 options, but no matter what, any option for this procedure require downtime/migration of your VMs. You can either rebuild your host (ESXi install takes 7mins, plus additional configurations under the Config tab - networking, NTP, etc.) and during the install change the block size (because it defaults to 1MB). See KB for that: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1012683. Or, you can use the 'post-install' reformat VMFS KB here: http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1013210 (or this URL by Duncan Epping: http://www.yellow-bricks.com/2009/11/11/changing-the-block-size-of-your-local-vmfs-during-the-install/).

When setting up ESX/ESXi host, I always recommend splitting up the hypervisor (ESX/ESXi) install from datastore storage for this very reason. As you can see, modifying the datastore that is on the same array as the hypervisor can get a bit ugly. And even a 3rd option is available, which is somewhat like the reinstall option, except what you can do is install ESXi on a USB stick. That way you have separation from your datastore storage. Either one you choose there will be 1. some downtime, and 2. migration/moving of VMs off the datastore, and 3. a bit of time to make the change. In the third option (installing on USB), you actually have to add the storage to your host whereas when you did your initial install you probably saw it already there. When you add it, your storage will be reformatted, wiping the data from the array, so again...please make sure you move your VMs off your storage before you attempt any of the procedures I've just listed.

~coolsport00
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Author Closing Comment

by:CHI-LTD
ID: 35058554
didnt go with this resolution in the end as the risk of the server failing outweighed the need for more storage on the server....
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