I wrote about block sizes a couple of times already but I had the same discussion twice over the last couple of weeks at a customer site and on Twitter(@VirtualKenneth) so lets recap. First the three articles that started these discussions: vSphere VM Snapshots and block size, That’s why I love blogging… and Block sizes and growing your VMFS.
I think the key take aways are:
- Block sizes do not impact performance, neither large or small, as the OS dictates the block sizes used.
- Large block sizes do not increase storage overhead as sub-blocks are used for small files. The sub-blocks are always 64KB.
- With thin provisioning there theoretically are more locks when a thin disk is growing but the locking mechanism has been vastly improved with vSphere which means this can be neglected. A thin provisioned VMDK on a 1Mb block size VMFS volume grows in chunks of 1MB and so on…
- When separating OS from Data it is important to select the same block size for both VMFS volumes as other wise it might be impossible to create snapshots.
- When using a virtual RDM for Data the OS VMFS volume must have an appropriate block size. In other words the maximum file size must match the RDM size.
- When growing a VMFS volume there is no way to increase the block size and maybe you will need to grow the volume to grow the VMDK. Which might possibly be beyond the limit of the maximum file size.
My recommendation would be to forget about the block size. Make your life easier and standardize, go big and make sure you have the flexibility you need now and in the future.