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. vCloud Automation Center 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 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 ESX Server integrations using NFS storage, thin provisioning is always employed. However, for 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.

FlexClone provisioning is only supported for virtual provisioning by cloning in vSphere integrations. If you specify a storage path that uses FlexClone technology with any other type of provisioning, the 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 Create a NetApp ONTAP Endpoint.

2

A fabric administrator creates a vSphere reservation, enables Flexclone storage, and specifies a storage path that uses FlexClone technology. See Create a Reservation.

3

A tenant administrator or business group manager creates a FlexClone blueprint. See Create a Blueprint for Net App FlexClone Provisioning.