Real Life example of Storage Sizing for View Linked Clones

After a recent post and some parallel discussions I thought that would be interesting to demonstrate some real life example based on my article Sizing Storage for VMware View Linked Clones.

Just as a reminder:

Total Storage =  (n° VMs * (Delta Footprint + Log + User Data Disk) + Replica + Master Replica + Overhead)

ERRATA: I have actually amended my article where I was no considering the storage space used by each one of the replicas. That should not cause a massive disruption to the calculation, unless there are dozens of desktop pools using different replicas and snapshots.


In the picture below VM-SOE01-001 is using 7.65 GB total storage.


* This View is only available if you are running VMware View on vCenter 4.


Master Replica (20 GB) – The Master Replica is a one off for each SOE used as template. Unless the homework has not been properly done there shouldn’t be many desktops pools, therefore not many Master Replicas.



Replica (5.5GB) – The replica is a thin provisioned copy of the Master Replica. It is created for each new desktop pool and it’s based on the snapshot in use at any given desktop pool.



VM (2.18 GB) – is composed of Delta Footprint + Log + User Data Disk. You will find information on how to calculate the size in my article Sizing Storage for VMware View Linked Clones.



Replica (5.5) + VM (2.18) = 7.6 GB !!

Take note of the formula and you will have no headaches in the future.


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    • Ken on 04/11/2010 at 11:52 pm


    Would like your thoughts on (LCs per Replica) and (number of replicas per LUN). I have come across VI3.5 info that recommends one Replica per LUN and 64 LCs per replica. In a large environment this sounds like it could get quite hairy with the number of LUNS…please share your thoughts…thx Ken

    • Ken on 04/11/2010 at 11:54 pm

    forgot to mention that this is for a vSphere4u1 environment

  1. @Ken you should be mindful of the following limits.

    • 8 hosts per cluster
    • 8 VM’s per core
    • 40 VMs per host
    • 512 Clones per Master Replica
    • 64 VMs per LUN
    • 3000 VMs per VC (64bit)

    • Ken on 04/13/2010 at 3:28 am

    @Andre Leibovici the 512 clones per replica is a lot more that what I found VMware recommending. 64 VMs per Master replica from the View Composer Design Guidelines or was that with View 3 which the doc is.

    • Ken on 04/13/2010 at 4:21 am

    @Ken yes, that is from the View 3 doc “VMware recommends that you run a maximum of 64 virtual machines per replica.” Also, my assumption is that a “VM” is the same as “Linked Clone”. Where is the 512 clones number from?

    • Ken on 04/13/2010 at 4:56 am

    @Ken I’ve got it, the terms we were using were different. I consider the “Master Replica” as the “Base + Snap”. And I was confusing Replica as…well the Master…VMware really doesn’t use the term “Master Replica”

    So in terms, 1-Base+Snap can be used to create 8-Replicas (on 8 different LUNs) and each Replica can be used to create 64 Linked Clone VMs or 512 Linked Clones per Base+Snap

    • Me on 05/23/2010 at 3:36 am

    The creation of replica’s occurs automatically when you enable a desktop pool ? so when using 8 replicas you have 8 desktop pools. Maybe I am wrong, but how can you enforce the datastore location of each replica when using 1 desktop pool ?

  2. I think if you add in disposable disk the formula would need to take consideration too
    Total Storage = (n° VMs * (Delta Footprint + Log + User Data Disk + Disposable disk) + Replica + Master Replica + Overhead)

    • Percy on 07/30/2014 at 12:39 pm

    This is a big help. To better calculate your storage this may help you. My findings and testing are that linked clone virtual desktops use between 5GB and 6GB each plus the size of the replica for each desktop pool which can vary based on the size of the image.

    For example: My Image is 40GB, the VM RAM of the image is 4GB and the replica is 20GB
    100VM’s X 6GB =600GB plus the size of the desktop pool replica disk 20GB so the grand total was 620GB.
    Note: The 5GB to 6GB includes the VM swop file which is approx. 4GB per VM. So if you redirect the VM swap file to cheaper disk or local disk you can also save on the total required on the shared SAN disk. The provisioned storage, not-shared storage and used storage can mislead you on the size that the linked clones are consuming on your shared storage.

  1. […] ERRATA: I have amended the sizing formula to include not only the Master Replica, but also the replicas. Please read second part of this article at […]

  2. […] is provisioned. If you still have doubts about how linked cloning technology works look here, here and […]

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