ESXi 5.0, Datastore block size and virtual hard drive size

Hey guys

I took over a client who has an ESXi installed on a server. The server has 500GB HDD so the Datastore capacity is showing up as 465GB. The problem I'm having is that SBS 2011 what is installed on this ESXi is running out of hard drive space. Here's more information:

There are 2 virtual servers installed on it, SBS2011 as the production server with maximum virtual disk size of 216GB of which 210GB is allocated to the server right now.

And then there is also Server2k3 installed with some software to maintain SBS etc. Virtual HDD size 36GB.

So, 36GB + 216GB is 256GB but I cannot increase the size of SBS virtual HDD it seems.

I've done some more digging and found this: 

The server I'm maintaining has 1MB block size.

We have just 1 ESXi installed, it's a small business so no need for more.

What would be my best course of action to get more hard disks space for SBS2011.

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If you cannot incur any down time, create another VHD and attach it to the SBS Box.  Then consider moving data off to the second VHD, most likely the Exchange Database and Logs are taking up the most space.  TreeFile Size is a great app to see what is taking up space.  

You could also run a full exchange backup which should truncate the logs, or perhaps turn on circular logging and then turn it back off. Only do this if you know what the consequences are.
kirretAuthor Commented:
We can actually have plenty of downtime, every evening + weekends.

Exchange was used in the past but now due to company policy (they are part of a nationwide company) they need to use another email provider so Exchange could go completely actually from the server.

Thanks for your input.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
ESXi 5.x, has a block size default of 1MB on a VMFS-5 datastore. This should allow you to increase the size of a virtual disk (vmdk) to 2TB-512bytes. (this could be hindered if the server was upgraded from 4.x to 5.x)

You can check the block size, and maximum size of disk, by selecting properties of the datastore.

other reasons for not being able to increase virtual disk size (if it's grayed out!).

1. there is a snapshot present
2. the virtual disk is set to IDE and not SCSI, IDE disks are not supported for expansion.

so check the above

see my EE Articles

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient

HOW TO:  Resize a VMware (VMDK) Virtual Disk
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The point of my answer is if there is only one server, there is not a way to increase the block size.  However, that does not mean you cannot attach another disk to the SBS server and use it for data, thus freeing up space on the C: drive.  

I would use treefile size or a similar application to determine where large amounts of data are on the c: drive, and then attach a new empty disk to the SBS server and move data off of C:.  The only downtime you will have is rebooting the SBS server.

This isn't the only way to do it, but it would be painless and not require moving VMs to another server.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
when you select Edit Virtual Disk, what happenes, what does it state?
kirretAuthor Commented:
@TMekeel - Thanks, you answered all my questions so I have a much clearer view of what I can/can't do.

@hanccocka - I think I've got the solution to my problem by TMekeel, thanks anyway.
The article is dated.
These virtual disk size limits at 1 Megabyte block size only apply to versions of the older VMFS prior to Version 5.

ESXi Version 5 and later create new filesystems as VMFS version 5.

If this was originally an ESXI4 or ESXI4.1  server  that you upgraded to ESXi version 5;
then  AS long as you no longer have any ESXi version 4 servers sharing this disk,

then you can do a VMFS upgrade to Version 5,

Click your host.
Go to the configuration tab.

Click the blue text that says "Storage"

Click the datastore from the list.

Check the VMFS version, when it shows up.
Look for a blue "Upgrade"  button to move from VMFS3 or VMFS2  up to the current VMFS version 5.

NOTE:  Upgrading to VMFS5;  your filesystem block size will not change.    You will not get all the performance advantages of VMFS5 necessarily,   but you don't have to format; and once you upgrade to VMFS5 if necessary,

The   config maximum for a VM virtual disk at  datastore 1MB block size  is the limit of 2TB minus 512bytes, for VMFS version 5.
kirretAuthor Commented:

The file system it shows under Configuration - Storage - DataStore1 is VMFS 5.54 if that helps.

But as you said I cannot change the block size anyway...
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Block Size is not applicable, it's always 1MB, and supports disks up to 2TB-512bytes.

Check for snapshots and check for storage controller!

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kirretAuthor Commented:
There are no snaphots hanccocka. See if any of these helps us:

Screenshot 1Screenshot 2Screenshot 3
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
What storage controller is used in the VM?

Edit VM Settings?

could you screenshot disk settings in the VM?
kirretAuthor Commented:
That's interesting. As I described before, Maximum Size was showing up as 216GB with 210GB as the current size. I changed from 210GB to 214GB, just to have few extra GBs as they will be needed from tomorrow, and then expanded the hard drive on SBS as well.

Now when I go back to Hard disk settings as you requested, the Maximum size has gone up to 444.84GB. I guess the problem is solved then, not sure why it changed it's maximum size though, but I can't complain.

Here's the screenshot anyway:

Screenshot 4
The "Maximum size"  value that shows in VM settings;  is mostly a function of the amount of free space remaining on a datastore.

If there is very little space free,  then maximum size will be very close to "Provisioned size"
kirretAuthor Commented:
Yes, and this is how it was before, 216GB / 210GB, just as described in my original question.

So did anything change when I added those extra 4GB, seems like it because now it's showing I can go up to 444GB.

Thanks everyone for your help. I'll close the thread now.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Glad all resolved, just some feedback...

1. I notice that a cdrom maybe connected, I would recommend disconnecting, as this can cause a Host overhead.

2. Also if you should experience performance issues, and would look at whether 4 vCPU are required in this VM. 4 vCPUs are not often required, and you could be over-subscribbing the CPUs, which in turn will cause performance issues.
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