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Netapp VMDK eager zero Best Practices

Posted on 2015-01-19
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I am looking for clarification on the best practices in using the Netapp ontapp 8.2.2 with VM~thin provision.  My understanding is the best practice is to make sure the flex volume is thin provisioned and that the Lun is also thin Provision.  However what I don’t understand is what the best practice is at the VMDK level.  My understanding was that you would set the hard disc as Thick  eager Zeroed  This will write Zeroed data to the hard disc but the Netapp through VAAI connection would understand what was happening at the ESXI level and in turn not allocate the space at the Agg level.  However my testing here is showing that when we thick provision eager Zero the space also gets allocated at the Netapp aggregate level.  I have confirmed as expected that thin provisioned and Thick Lazy  at the VMDK does not allocate the space at the netapp.  .  What I’m trying to understand is whether I have configured the VAAI connection incorrectly or whether this is the expected behavior.  This is being used as a iscsi not NFS
Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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Question by:James-Sillett
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LVL 121
ID: 40557721
Thick eager Zeroed virtual disks, have been proved to yield performance figures of 10-15% better than lazy zeroed.

If you are concerned with top performance, and clustered disks, or FT virtual machines, I would opt for Thick eager Zeroed virtual disks.

All our clients with NetApp Filers use  Thick eager Zeroed virtual disks, however, there is a delay in the initial creation of the virtual machine, if creating from scratch, however, we use templates for deployment of virtual machines, so the initial creation of the golden master, is the only initial delay.

Have you added the VAAI plugin ?

This web article, shows some tests

http://www.virtuallanger.com/2011/12/06/vaai-is-this-thing-on/
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gheist earned 500 total points
ID: 40558161
With iSCSI it supports DISCARD/TRIM, and netapp on the backend does its own thin provisioning/dedupllication as configured per volume., not per LUN.
So you have the choice between vmware handling thin provisioning, or in case your guest does TRIM/DISCARD (Like Windows 7 or linux 3.something) you can rely on netapp.
Why not stick with default lazy zeroed provisioning? It is fast to create.
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