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Sizing up the effects of a monster VM

A monster VM might not be useful for everyone right now, but it could be the future so administrators should make sure to understand them.

When VMware increased the VMDK file sizes to 64 KB, they truly created a monster. Monster VMs are used to virtualize applications with large resource needs and typically have more than eight virtual CPUs. Unsurprisingly, with more size comes more responsibility. Here are five tips on handling a monster VM.

Huge VMDK file size brings monster VMs to life

VMware increased the VMDK file size from 2 TB to 64 TB in vSphere 5.5, but does that mean you need to use all of that space? Practical uses for a 64 TB VMDK file are limited today but in the future, a monster VM might be necessary.

Be aware of NUMA node sizes when creating big VMs

In virtualization, sometimes it can seem like there isn't a limit on space. But administrators need to know the NUMA node size in order to monitor how performance affects the speed of their VMs.

Large VMs cause load balancing challenges

When deploying large VMs in vSphere or any other virtualized environment, pay close attention. However, VMware load balancing and high availability tools aren't necessarily cut out for the monster VMs that support mission-critical apps.

How moving huge VMDK files affects storage

When VMware increased the terabyte size of VMDK files, there were many ripple effects, including at the storage level. Huge VMDK files can make it harder to use common virtualization features like snapshots.

What you need to create a VMDK file larger than 2 TB

Now that VMware vastly increased the VMDK file size limit, the first step is figuring out what you need to go over 2 TB. To start, it's required that the virtual machine is powered off and you'll also need the latest hypervisors and file system versions.

Next Steps

Get to know the Virtual Machine Disk file format better

What you should know about VMware VMDK shrink and storage thin provisioning

This was last published in March 2015

Dig Deeper on Virtual machine provisioning and configuration

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