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Thin Provisioning: Under Control

Last week, I was at TechMentor in Orlando and a very interesting point was brought up in the virtualization track. For thin provisioning, who do you want doing it? Should the storage system or the virtualization platform administer this disk-space-saving feature? The recommendation was to use the storage system to provide thin provisioning on the LUN if supported. As a fan of virtualization in general and with vSphere's thin provisioning of VMDK files being one of my most anticipated features, I stopped and thought a bit about this recommendation. Then this sounded familiar to discussions of having software RAID or hardware RAID: We clearly want hardware controllers administering RAID arrays.

While it is not quantified, there is overhead to having a thin-provisioned disk with vSphere. The storage array may have overhead for a thin-provisioned LUN as well. I mentioned earlier how thin-provisioning monitoring is important with vSphere, but should we just go the hardware route? Of course this is assuming that the storage system supports thin-provisioning for ESX and ESXi installations.

What is your preference on this practice? I am inclined to determine that a hardware-administered (storage system) solution is going to be cleaner. Share your thoughts below or shoot me a message with your opinion.

Posted by Rick Vanover on 06/30/2009 at 12:47 PM


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