When you perform certain virtual machine management operations, such as creating a virtual disk, cloning a virtual machine to a template, or migrating a virtual machine, you can specify a provisioning policy for the virtual disk file.

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 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 virtual disk is created. Data remaining on the physical device is not erased during creation, but is zeroed out on demand at a later time on first write from the virtual machine.

Using the default flat virtual disk format does not zero out or eliminate the possibility of recovering deleted files or restoring old data that might be present on this allocated space. You cannot convert a flat disk to a thin disk.

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 flat format, the data remaining on the physical device is zeroed out when the virtual disk is created. It might take much longer to create disks in this format than to create other types of disks.

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 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.

Note

If a virtual disk supports clustering solutions such as Fault Tolerance, do not make the disk thin.

If the thin disk needs more space later, it can grow to its maximum capacity and occupy the entire datastore space provisioned to it. Also, you can manually convert the thin disk into a thick disk.