When you perform certain virtual machine management operations, you can specify a provisioning policy for the virtual disk file. The operations include creating a virtual disk, cloning a virtual machine to a template, or migrating a virtual machine.
NFS datastores with Hardware Acceleration and VMFS datastores support the following disk provisioning policies. On NFS datastores that do not support Hardware Acceleration, only thin format is available.
You can use Storage vMotion or cross-host Storage vMotion to transform virtual disks from one format to another.
- Thick Provision Lazy Zeroed
- Creates a virtual disk in a default thick format. Space required for the virtual disk is allocated when the disk is created. Data remaining on the physical device is not erased during creation, but is zeroed out on demand later on first write from the virtual machine. Virtual machines do not read stale data from the physical device.
- Thick Provision Eager Zeroed
- A type of thick virtual disk that supports clustering features such as Fault Tolerance. Space required for the virtual disk is allocated at creation time. In contrast to the thick provision lazy zeroed format, the data remaining on the physical device is zeroed out when the virtual disk is created. It might take longer to create virtual disks in this format than to create other types of disks. Increasing the size of an Eager Zeroed Thick virtual disk causes a significant stun time for the virtual machine.
- Thin Provision
- Use this format to save storage space. For the thin disk, you provision as much datastore space as the disk would require based on the value that you enter for the virtual disk size. However, the thin disk starts small and at first, uses only as much datastore space as the disk needs for its initial operations. If the thin disk needs more space later, it can grow to its maximum capacity and occupy the entire datastore space provisioned to it.
Thin provisioning is the fastest method to create a virtual disk because it creates a disk with just the header information. It does not allocate or zero out storage blocks. Storage blocks are allocated and zeroed out when they are first accessed.
Note: If a virtual disk supports clustering solutions such as Fault Tolerance, do not make the disk thin.