Space-efficient storage technology eliminates the inefficiencies of traditional storage methods by using only the storage actually required for a machine's operations. Typically, this is only a fraction of the storage actually allocated to machines. vRealize Automation supports two methods of provisioning with space-efficient technology, thin provisioning and FlexClone provisioning.

When standard storage is used, the storage allocated to a provisioned machine is fully committed to that machine, even when it is powered off. This can be a significant waste of storage resources because few virtual machines actually use all of the storage allocated to them, just as few physical machines operate with a 100% full disk. When a space-efficient storage technology is used, the storage allocated and the storage used are tracked separately and only the storage used is fully committed to the provisioned machine.

Thin Provisioning

Thin provisioning is supported for all virtual provisioning methods. Depending on your virtualization platform, storage type, and default storage configuration, thin provisioning might always be used during machine provisioning. For example, for vSphere ESX Server integrations using NFS storage, thin provisioning is always employed. However, for vSphere ESX Server integrations that use local or iSCSI storage, thin provisioning is only used to provision machines if the custom property VirtualMachine.Admin.ThinProvision is specified in the blueprint. For more information about thin provisioning, please see the documentation provided by your virtualization platform.

Net App FlexClone Provisioning

You can create a blueprint for Net App FlexClone provisioning if you are working in a vSphere environment that uses Network File System (NFS) storage and FlexClone technology.

You can only use NFS storage, or machine provisioning fails. You can specify a FlexClone storage path for other types of machine provisioning, but the FlexClone storage path behaves like standard storage.

The following is a high-level overview of the sequence of steps required to provision machines that use FlexClone technology:
  1. An IaaS administrator creates a NetApp ONTAP endpoint. See Endpoint Settings Reference.
  2. An IaaS administrator runs data collection on the endpoint to enable the endpoint to be visible on the compute resource and reservation pages.

    The FlexClone option is visible on a reservation page in the endpoint column if a NetApp ONTAP endpoint exists and if the host is virtual. If there is a NetApp ONTAP endpoint, the reservation page displays the endpoint assigned to the storage path.

  3. A fabric administrator creates a vSphere reservation, enables FlexClone storage, and specifies an NFS storage path that uses FlexClone technology. See Create a Reservation for Hyper-V, KVM, SCVMM, vSphere, or XenServer.
  4. An infrastructure architect or other authorized user creates a blueprint for FlexClone provisioning.