VMWare space provisioning


I’m working with a VMWare 5 infrastructure and today, one of my server stopped responding because there was not enough space available.

I only use 4.95 Tb on 6.11 Tb capacities.

It’s saying now that provisioned space is 10.31tb???

Any idea how to solve that?
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Thin provisioning provides the ability to oversubscribe your datastores.
That is the difference between "provisioned" and "used".
See the vmdk that I circled from your screen shot.  It shows what the disk size actually is vs what you provisioned for that disk.

Refresh the storage in the server summary and check to be sure there is enough free space.
If not, you may have to move guest servers around to free up some space (I'm assuming the VMWare box locked up and not a VM.)
polycorjspAuthor Commented:
Is there a way to take back this Space?  Not use provisionning?
Well, one thing I see is it appears you have snapshots.  If so, are they needed?  Commit them if not.
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To answer your other question, is that be careful when you thin provision and account for the data growth if you plan on using it.  There is an inherent danger with thin provisioning that when you oversubscribe you can run out of space if you're not careful.

To use it is fine so long as you plan for it.  I thin provision disks with room to spare on the datastore so that I don't run into that issue, although that is a personal choice.  I'd rather expand disks than have to try and shrink them.
polycorjspAuthor Commented:
Is there a way to stop using thin provisioning?  Do I have to rebuild a brand new server?
You can shrink thin provisioned disks but I don't think that is the issue at hand.  Your used space is too high.  Thin disks aren't using all of the space in the storage, they just have the ability to do so, up to their provisioned size.

The issue is your disks either expanded and are using the space in real terms, or that you have other things eating up your storage such as snapshots or abandoned disks.

The focus should not be on the thin provisioning per se, but more along the lines of are you actually using the space?

The differentiation between thin (used when needed) and thick (immediately used) is not the issue at this point.  Your host is claiming that you are using the space.  So add up the column in the used side and see if it matches your capacity on the host.
In clearer terms, if you thin provision a vmdk for 1TB and only install a Windows Server 2008R2 guest on the vmdk, it's real used space in VMWare will report roughly 3GB, not 1TB.

It will grow as you add data and report that as Used space.

Let's say that disk gets 100GB of data added over time, and you can safely say another 100GB data is all that will ever be needed.
In that case, you can shut it down and shrink it (not that simple but for the case of discussion let's assume so.)  You can then shrink it from the 1TB to 203GB and leave it there.  It will still only report using 103GB, even though it's now provisioned for 203GB.  Windows will still think it's 203GB, but VMWare will tell you what it is actually using on the storage array.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Replace your thin provisoned servers with thick, and check for snapshots.

If you need to convert, VMs, use Mware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.1 to create a V2V, and then you can specify thick provisioned disks.

see my EE Articles

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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Correct replacing them with thick will stop the reporting of the 10TB provisioned.  It doesnt appear though that he is using only 5 of the 6TB in the array.  Looks more like 5.9TB out of 6TB. Replacing with thick at this point isnt going to solve the issue of running out of space is what I was trying to explain.

Also, replacing with thick will mean when a VM runs out of space it will be just as a physical server runs out.  Better than the host running out of space for sure, but still not great.  I'd still recommend using thin, just not allocating 1TB to a guest when it only needs a few hundred GB.  It looks like the disks are way over provisioned in other words.
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