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VMware 5.1 - Fix file is larger than maximum file size supported error

Posted on 2013-05-26
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Last Modified: 2013-06-03
Hello, someone increased a virtual disk size on an ESXi 5.1 system to 2TB and now we are getting this error

Create virtual machine snapshot VIRTUALMACHINE File <unspecified filename> is larger than the maximum size supported by datastore '<unspecified datastore>'
File is larger than the maximum size supported by datastore
Googleing the error I find this article

VMware - Creating a snapshot for a virtual machine fails with the error: File is larger than maximum file size supported

After looking at this, it's not entirely clear what I have to do to fix this. It seems that I am already at the maximum file size so moving to a different volume wouldn't help.

It does mention either changing the location of the .vmx file or changing the location of the snapshots.

Even after reading through this I'm still very fuzzy on what I need to do or how to do it. For instance if I want to create the snapshots in a different location as illustrated below I'm not clear on how large a volume I need or even how to directly edit the .vmx file on an iSCSI LUN.

Creating snapshots in a different location than default virtual machine directory

Thanks for any advice you can offer.
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Question by:willp2
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 39197980
2TB including the snapshot size is the maximu for any datastore.

if you edit the VMX file, and change the location of the snapshot working directory, you can overcome this error.

so do you have another datastore, you can relocate the snapshot file to.

If not, you will have to create V2V using VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1, and redcuce the size of the virtual machine disk to an acceptable size less than 2TB, including snapshot.

HOW TO:  Synchronize changes when completing a P2V or V2V with VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1

HOW TO:  P2V, V2V for FREE - VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1
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by:willp2
ID: 39197983
Thanks. Yes, I have another data store I can relocate the snapshot working directory.

How big does it need to be and then I know this is probably a very dumb question, but how do I actually get to the vmx file?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 500 total points
ID: 39199658
you edit the VMX file at the console, or remotely via SSH.

The size of the datastore, needs to be as large as you think the snapshot will get, whilst the backup take place.

We work on 20% of the size of the virtual disk.
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by:willp2
ID: 39216745
Thanks for the help.

It turned out in this case that even redirecting the snapshots wasn't enough to get this working. After talking to VMware it it turns out that the only option for this spanned volume was to create new disks that are under 2TB and copy all the data to them, then delete the original disks. I'm still in the process of doing that.

As a personal note, the 2TB disk limit is surprising considering the amount of data companies regularly have to deal with these days. Having the deal with this by spanning disks in the OS is less than ideal.  

Further I think that it’s incredible that vSphere would allow you to create a disk that is larger than it can snaphot with no warning.

VMware tells me the largest disk can be 2TB minus 512 bytes. Not 512Kb or 512Mb, but 512bytes. However when you create a 2TB disk in vSphere it doesn't subtract out those 512bytes. If that's really accurate, I've had to move around many TB of data, waste hours of time and put company data at risk because the vSphere GUI doesn't account for 512bytes? I still find it hard to believe that this is accurate.
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