Howto Shrink a Thin Provisioned Virtual Disk (VMDK)

Thin provisioned disks are a great feature to save capacity as you virtual machines filesystem will never use the full capacity. I do not know a single system where you do not have at least 10GB of free space for OS disks. I am not considering databases, applications or fileservers which will grow constantly. Having thin provisioned disk is usually no longer a performance problem so it is a valid design choice even in production.

A common issue with thin disks is that the size will grow when required, but never shrink. When you require the capacity only once you might want to get it back from the virtual machine. This post describes how to reclaim unused space from the virtual machine.

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Identify Disk Usage of a Thin Provisioned Virtual Disk

This post demonstrates various ways to identify the disk usage of a thin provisioned virtual disk.

I have a virtual machine with a 10 GB thin provisioned disk. You can verify the disk type from the virtual machine settings page.

thin-provisioned-disk

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Download VMware Tools for Windows

Instead of using the vSphere Client to mount VMware Tools ISO files, you can also use a repository provided by VMware to download the package. In my opinion, this is much more comfortable. You copy the installation package to your fileserver and install VMware Tools without having to use the vSphere Client.

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vSphere Release History PDF Format – November 2014

The download of my vSphere Release History in PDF Format is now available. It includes the latest vSphere updates. The document is a printable Version of my VMware ESXi Release and Build Number History.
esx-history-pdf

The Build History Diagram has also been revised:
vmware-esxi-build-history

Updates

  • Version numbering changed (PDF and Website) to match the list by VMware
  • 4.x bar color changed to reflect that it is End of life since May 5, 2014

Links

VMware ESXi Support for HP ProLiant Gen9 Servers

Hewlett Packard has released Intel Xeon E5v3 (aka Haswell) Proliant Generation 9 server systems. Gen9 Servers are available as Rack Servers, Blades and Towers. Time to have a look at VMware Support for the new series.

hp-gen9

HP ProLiant Gen9 Servers with ESXi Support:

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What’s New in vSphere 5.5 Update 2

On 2014-09-09 VMware released a bunch of new versions, including vSphere 5.5 Update 2.

  • ESXi 5.5 U2 supports hosts with up to 6TB of RAM
  • vCenter Server 5.5 U2 support for Oracle 12c, Microsoft SQL Server 2012 SP1 and Microsoft SQL Server 2014
  • vSphere Client (C# Client) can now edit VM Hardware Version 10 – More Information here
  • The Customer Experience Improvement Program can be joined to send anonymous information to improve the quality, reliability, and functionality of VMware products – More Information here
  • Lots of fixed Issues

Release Notes:

vSphere 5.5 U2 C# Client can now edit Hardware Version 10 VMs

Slightly hidden in vSphere 5.5 Update 2 there is a new vSphere C# Client that can edit Virtual Machines running the latest Virtual Hardware (vmx-10). Instead of getting an error message when trying to edit Virtual Machines with Hardware Version 10 you can now reconfigure these machines with the legacy C# client. Understandably you can only edit pre-5.1 features. All 5.1/5.5 features are still only available with the vSphere Web Client.

With the vSphere Client you would usually see the following error message:

You-cannot-edit-vm-version-10

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Disable Virtual Machine Swap File (.vswp)

For each powered-on virtual machine, a .vswp file is placed in the virtual machines directory on the datastore. This file is required by VMkernel to swap virtual machine memory to the disk in case of excessive overprovisioning. The swap file size can be calculated with the formula (.vswp File = Allocated Memory – Memory Reservation). As per default, the reservation is set to 0, so the .vswp file size is equal to the amount of virtual memory.

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vSphere ROBO vs. per CPU Licensing

At VMworld 2014, VMware has announced vSphere Remote Office Branch Office (ROBO). This new package, available as Standard and Advanced edition, offers a per virtual machine licensing model. These 25 VM packs can be distributed across multiple remote sites.

vSphere ROBO is expected to be available in Q3 2014.

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What’s new in vSphere 6? – VMworld 2014 News

The next version of vSphere is currently in public beta state. While the beta is still under NDA, VMware has announced some features at their VMworld 2014 conference:

  • Multi-CPU Fault Tolerance
  • vMotion Enhancements (Cross vCenter, long distance, NSX)
  • Virtual Datacenters
  • Virtual Volumes

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