How to convert a virtual machine with a thick provisioned disk to a thin provisioned disk in a VMware vCenter Server environment


I had a problem with the conventional method of P2V in a VMware vCenter environment which meant that I had to use the Standalone Converter. Once converted I realised that the hard disks were thick provisioned.

As there isn’t a setting to change from thick to thin provisioning the workaround is to migrate and change the datastore location (if you have another datastore available) as this gives you the opportunity to change the format to thin provisioning as part of the migration.

In vCenter right click on the VM and select Migrate

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Select Change Datastore

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Select a different datastore to the one that the VM is currently located

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You then get the option of selecting the Thin Provisioned Format

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Once it has completed the migration process follow the same process again to move it back to the original datastore – Migrate then Change Datastore and select Same Format as source

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Once completed select the Edit Settings feature of the VM and you will see that the hard disks are now thin provisioned

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8 thoughts on “How to convert a virtual machine with a thick provisioned disk to a thin provisioned disk in a VMware vCenter Server environment

  1. Pingback: VMWare vShield Zones – NetAppSky

  2. ^ That’s because thin provisioning will always show the original datastore size but will change according to needs required by other datastores, unlike thick provisioning – which i wish they would eliminate completely.

  3. I was receiving an error when powering up about unsupported disk type and notices the type said “Sparse”. I wanted to convert to thin and did so by migrating the datastore. I was then able to power on successfully. Thanks guys!

  4. I do what you suggested but I have only one datastore and it didn’t work for me, vm is still thick. what should I do?

  5. Very helpful and well done tip. One criticism of your page though. The photo background and black type make your page a struggle to read.

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