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Fast Provisioning in VMware vCloud Director 1.5 and 5.x (2005865)

Purpose

This article provides information on the Fast Provisioning feature in vCloud Director (vCD) 1.5 and 5.x.

Resolution

Fast Provisioning has these key characteristics:
  • The source template virtual machines are called primary virtual machines.
  • Shadow virtual machines are created on demand.
  • Subsequent copies to the same datastore are fast.
  • Org Admin/User only sees the source virtual machine. Shadow virtual machines are an implementation detail that are only visible to vCloud Director administrators.
  • Shadow virtual machines stored in System Virtual Datacenter (vDC)
  • Shadow virtual machines disk space billed to the service provider
  • Fast Provisioning can be enabled at Organization vDC Properties. Click Enable Fast Provisioning on the Storage tab.
Note: Fast Provisioning is only supported for vSphere 5.0. Mixed clusters of ESX 4.x and ESXi 5.0 with vCenter Server 5.0 is not supported. Fast Provisioning should not be enabled for virtual machines spanning multiple datastores. If datastore free space threshold red/ yellow is reached, virtual machines are not be cloned.

Fast Provisioning consists of two elements:
  • Linked Clones
    • Multiple virtual machines accessing the same base disk
    • Identical blocks exist only once on physical datastore
    • Cross datastore are not supported, hence not compatible with storage DRS

  • Shadow Virtual Machines
    • Within datastore in same vCenter Server and datastore it works like linked clones
    • For cross-datastore and cross-vCenter Server clones, full clone of original base disk are created on additional datastore. This clone serves as base disk on additional datastore
Fast Provisioning has these advantages:
  • Saves storage for same amount of data for guest operating system installation
  • Disk writes are not affected performance wise as they always go immediately to delta disk
  • Very fast cloning procedure as the base disk is not required to be copied again

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