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VMWARE: Recommended disk or LUN sizes for VMware ESX 3.x / 4.x and ESXi 3.x / 4.x / 5.x installations


Recommended disk or LUN sizes for VMware ESX 3.x / 4.x and ESXi 3.x / 4.x / 5.x installations (1026500)

Details

This article provides information on:

  • Required default storage space for a VMware ESX or ESXi installation.
  • LUN size for a boot-from-SAN configuration.

Solution

VMware recommends provisioning enough space to satisfy the partitioning requirements outlined in product documentation. The default partitioning layout is sufficient for the majority of deployments, but the information provided here may be used as a baseline for customization.

Notes:

  • These space requirements outlined are based on the partition tables created by the graphical and text-based installers.
  • Boot-from-SAN configurations require additional consideration with regards to VMFS. For VMware ESX 4.0 and 4.1, which require VMFS, you may format a portion of the boot LUN as VMFS (default), or opt for utilization of a separate storage device formatted as VMFS to store the Console OS.

VMware ESX 3.0.3 and 3.5

VMware ESX 3.x requires a minimum of approximately 8 GB.

System Disk Partitions

  • 100 MB boot partition
  • 5 GB system root partition
  • VMFS partition, if defined, spans the remainder of the disk
  • Extended partition

System Disk Logical Partitions

  • 1 GB swap partition
  • 2 GB system log partition
  • 110 MB VMkernel core dump partition

VMware ESX 4.0 and 4.1

For VMware ESX 4.x, the ESX Console OS is instead situated within a virtual machine disk (.vmdk) file on a VMFS file system. The size of this disk file varies between deployments, based on the size of the logical unit used. A minimum requirement is approximately 8 GB.

Notes:

  • The stored Console OS virtual machine disk files may increase in size over the course of a deployment, accommodating for additional log data and files.
  • It can be stored on a SAN LUN or different block device than the system disk, as long as it has been partitioned and formatted as VMFS.
  • The Console OS disk, as a best practice, should not be situated on a shared SAN LUN.

System Disk Partitions

  • 1100 MB boot partition
  • 110 MB VMkernel core dump partition
  • Extended partition spans the remainder of the disk
  • Logical VMFS partition spanning the remainder of the extended partition

VMFS Partition / Console OS VMDK Partitions

These are partitions that reside within the Console OS VMDK, stored on the formatted VMFS volume:
  • 600 MB swap partition
  • 2 GB system log partition
  • Extended partition spanning remainder of Console OS .vmdk file
  • 5 GB system (root) partition

VMware ESXi 3.5, 4.0, and 4.1 (Installable)

VMware ESXi installations benefit from reduced space and memory requirements due to the omission of the Console OS. It requires approximately 6 GB of space without a defined VMFS partition or datastore.

When additional block devices are provided, they may be formatted and utilized as VMFS, or in some cases as additional scratch storage space.

System Disk Partitions

  • 4.2 MB FAT boot partition
  • Extended partition
  • 4.3 GB FAT partition for scratch storage and swap
  • Remainder of device may be formatted as VMFSNote: The minimum size for a VMFS datastore is approximately 1 GB.

System Disk Logical Partitions

  • 250 MB FAT partition for a hypervisor bootbank
  • 250 MB FAT partition for a second hypervisor bootbank
  • 110 MB diagnostic partition for VMkernel core dumps
  • 286 MB FAT partition for the store partition (VMware Tools, VMware vSphere/Infrastructure Client, core)

VMware ESXi 3.5, 4.0, and 4.1 (Embedded / USB)

Embedded VMware ESXi installations typically utilize approximately 1 GB of non-volatile flash media via USB. An additional 4-5 GB of space may be defined on local storage for additional scratch storage and swap to be stored.

Persistent logging is not included with embedded ESXi. VMware recommends configuring remote syslog services for troubleshooting or when anticipating technical issues. For more information, see Enabling syslog on ESXi (1016621).

USB Device Primary Partitions

  • 4.2 MB FAT boot partition
  • Extended partition

USB Device Logical Partitions

  • 250 MB FAT partition for a hypervisor bootbank
  • 250 MB FAT partition for a second hypervisor bootbank
  • 110 MB diagnostic partition for VMkernel core dumps
  • 286 MB FAT partition for the store partition (VMware Tools, VMware vSphere/Infrastructure Client, core).

Local Disk Partitions (If Present)

  • 4.3 GB FAT partition for scratch storage and swap
  • 110 MB diagnostic partition for VMkernel core dumps
  • Remainder of device may be formatted as VMFSNote: The minimum size for a VMFS datastore is approximately 1 GB.
For more information on these installation requirements, see the respective installation guide for your selected product in the VMware Documentation pages.

VMware ESXi 5.0 (Installable)

For fresh installations, several new partitions are created for the boot banks, the scratch partition, and the locker.
Fresh ESXi installations use GUID Partition Tables (GPT) instead of MSDOS-based partitioning. The partition table itself is fixed as part of the binary image, and is written to the disk at the time the system is installed. The ESXi installer leaves the scratch and VMFS partitions blank and ESXi creates them when the host is rebooted for the first time  after installation or upgrade.

One 4 GB VFAT scratch partition is created for system swap. Fore more information, see About the Scratch Partition section in the vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

The VFAT scratch partition is created only on the disk from which the ESXi host is booting.
During ESXi installation, the installer creates a 110 MB diagnostic partition for core dumps. The other size recommendations that apply to ESXi 4.x installable are also applicable to ESXi 5.0 installable.

VMware ESXi 5.0 (Embedded/USB)

One 110 MB diagnostic partition for core dumps, if this partition is not present on another disk. The other size recommendations that apply to ESXi 4.x embedded are also applicable to ESXi 5.0 embedded.

The VFAT scratch and diagnostic partitions are created only on the disk from which the ESXi host is booting. On other disks, the software creates one VMFS5 partition per blank disk, using the whole disk. Only blank disks are formatted.
In ESXi Embedded, all visible blank internal disks with VMFS are also formatted by default.
vSphere 5.0 supports booting ESXi hosts from the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). With UEFI you can boot systems from hard drives, CD-ROM drives, or USB media.
ESXi can boot from a disk larger than 2 TB provided that the system firmware and the firmware on any addin card that you are using support it. See the vendor documentation.
USB key size for ESXi 5.0 embedded is vendor dependent.

For more information on Install requirements for ESXi 5.0, see vSphere Installation and Setup Guide.

VMware ESXi 5.1

For information on ESXi 5.1, see the ESXi Hardware Requirements section in the vSphere Upgrade Guide.

Note: A diagnostic partition cannot be located on an iSCSI LUN accessed through the software iSCSI or dependent hardware iSCSI adapter. For more information, see Working with Datastores section section in the vSphere Storage Guide.