I'm very new to VMware so excuse the Newb nature of my question. We have a small environment: three HP hosts running ESXi 5.5 with a EMC VNXe 3100 serving as storage. I have a Server 2003 VM on one of the hosts which is acting as a file server. As part of a migration project, I recently moved approx. 500 GB of data to another server. When I look at the datastore usage however, I don't see any of the storage freed up. What am I missing?
As this is a virtualized environment the disks inside your Win 2003 server VM are also virtualized. Basically those are large files (*.vmdk files) which are located on the physical volume with your datastore.
Those *.vmdk files stay the same size even after the contents (the 500GB of data you mentioned) is moved or deleted and therefor there is no change in available space on the actual (physical) datastore.
If you do not need that virtual disk anymore, you may remove it from the VM's confugration and delete the vmdk file, after that the space is freed up.
Hope that helps.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my question. I really appreciate it. That does help conceptually. I should have been a bit more specific and stated that there is still data on the virtual disk I need to retain. Is there a method to reclaim the space without blowing the whole disk away?
As Win 2003 does not really support shrinking disks/partitions I consider this being a little dangerous. Read this KB first: VMware KB: Growing, thinning and shrinking virtual disks for VMware ESX and ESXi
But I'm not sure if that is a viable method with a Win 2003 VM.