A reservation specifies the guaranteed minimum allocation for a virtual machine.

vCenter Server or ESX/ESXi allows you to power on a virtual machine only if there are enough unreserved resources to satisfy the reservation of the virtual machine. The server guarantees that amount even when the physical server is heavily loaded. The reservation is expressed in concrete units (megahertz or megabytes).

For example, assume you have 2GHz available and specify a reservation of 1GHz for VM1 and 1GHz for VM2. Now each virtual machine is guaranteed to get 1GHz if it needs it. However, if VM1 is using only 500MHz, VM2 can use 1.5GHz.

Reservation defaults to 0. You can specify a reservation if you need to guarantee that the minimum required amounts of CPU or memory are always available for the virtual machine.