Thin and Thick Provisioning – XenServer and Xendesktop 5 storage optimization

January 18, 2011


>I guess I had to learn this the hard way but it all comes off at the end.

To put it simply

I rolled out a new installation of Xendesktop 5 for a client the other day and since it was a small environment with only 1 user I wanted to experiment with machine creation services, the new feature of xendesktop 5 that eliminates the use of provisioning services in smaller environments.

So I set up Xenserver 5.6 FP1 and began to to setup the Controller server and the base windows 7 image that would be used for MCS.

This crucial point is where my problems would begin, so MCS is based on snapshoting the VM and so I continued as normal to snap shot the vm and then roll out the desktop group. Very soon I found myself out of space very quickly to my confusion.

I checked the storage repository and it was type LVM and noticed that the snapshots were actually taking up the full size instead of being virtual. After much investigation and help from the citrix forums I then realised that my major problem is that lvm file type storage does not support thin provisioning and that my environment was currently undertaking thick provisioning hence running out of space so quickly.

In a nutshell the quickest and most simple solution was to

1) Export all VM’s
2) Reinstall Xenserver 5.6 FP1 and this time select Xendesktop storage optimization option
3) Import the VM’s
4) Reconfigure Xendesktop with the machines

Happy snapshotting and and VM creating with Xendesktop 5 knowing that you are making most use of your storage repositry.


1) Citirix FOrums thread – Explaining thin and thick provisioning
2) Citrix Blog – Thin Provisioing

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About mohamedridha

Network Systems Engineer with focus on Wireless LAN Infrastructure and Security. Interests in Middle East

View all posts by mohamedridha


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One Comment on “Thin and Thick Provisioning – XenServer and Xendesktop 5 storage optimization”

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