Thin provisioning is not new. VMware did it with VMware Workstation where virtual machines would be allocated, say, 50GB of disk space but actually only be given 5GB. As it filled up with data they would get another tranche of disk space.

Reza Malekzadeh, VMware's product marketing and alliances director, said that the capability was not implemented in VMware server - ESX - because it wasn't needed. Workstation users are short of disk space whereas server users generally are not.

My thinking here is that was then; this is now. Ironically workstation users now have access to terabytes of disk if they wish whereas the consequences of spinning empty platters are so large in power and cooling terms and sheer disk acquisition costs that thin provisioning for servers, started off by 3PAR, is spreading like wildfire. HP is that latest server vendor to allocate disk more economically to applications.

Servers need thin provisioning. Connect an Inserv array from 3PAR to a VMware server installation and they will get it, but VMware will be ignorant of that fact.

Should a pool of virtualised storage be 'owned' by the SAN management resource or by VMware when it's going to be used by a bunch of VMware virtual machines? If VMware thinks th latter we might yet see it re-instating its workstation thin provisioning capability in its ESX server product.

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