When allocating disk space, provide only enough space for the operating system, applications, and additional content that users might install or generate. Usually this amount is smaller than the size of the disk that is included on a physical PC.

Because datacenter disk space usually costs more per gigabyte than desktop or laptop disk space in a traditional PC deployment, optimize the operating system image size. The following suggestions might help optimize image size:

  • Remove unnecessary files. For example, reduce the quotas on temporary Internet files.

  • Turn off Windows services such as the indexer service, the defragmenter service, and restore points. For details, see the topics "Optimize Windows Guest Operating System Performance," "Optimize Windows 7 and Windows 8 Guest Operating System Performance," and "Overview of Windows 7 and Windows 8 Services and Tasks That Cause Linked-Clone Growth," in Setting Up Desktop and Application Pools in View.

  • Choose a virtual disk size that is sufficient to allow for future growth, but is not unrealistically large.

  • Use centralized file shares or a View Composer persistent disk or App Volumes for user-generated content and user-installed applications.

  • If you are using vSphere 5.1 or later, enable space reclamation for vCenter Server and for the linked-clone desktop pools.

    If virtual machine desktops use the space-efficient disk format available with vSphere 5.1 or later, stale or deleted data within a guest operating system is automatically reclaimed with a wipe and shrink process.

The amount of storage space required must take into account the following files for each virtual desktop:

  • The ESXi suspend file is equivalent to the amount of RAM allocated to the virtual machine.

  • By default, the Windows page file is equivalent to 150 percent of RAM.

  • Log files can take up as much as 100MB for each virtual machine.

  • The virtual disk, or .vmdk file, must accommodate the operating system, applications, and future applications and software updates. The virtual disk must also accommodate local user data and user-installed applications if they are located on the virtual desktop rather than on file shares.

    If you use View Composer, the .vmdk files grow over time, but you can control the amount of growth by scheduling View Composer refresh operations, setting a storage over-commit policy for virtual machine desktop pools, and redirecting Windows page and temporary files to a separate, nonpersistent disk.

    If you use instant clones, the .vmdk files grow over time within a login session. Whenever a user logs out, the instant clone desktop is automatically deleted and a new instant clone is created and ready for the next user to log in. With this process, the desktop is effectively refreshed and returned to its original size.

You can also add 15 percent to this estimate to be sure that users do not run out of disk space.