consolidation failed - insufficient disk space

Using ESXi 6.7, VCSA 6.7, Veeam Backup & Replication 11 - a Veeam vmware backup job with change block tracking enabled failed a few days ago on a host at a remote location.  vmdk sesparse files have grown large since then and the original approach to the disk provisioning layout wasn't ideal.  The datastore ran out of space which caused a vm to go offline.  There was initially no snapshots found in the web interface snapshot manager but vcsa displays the "consolidation is needed" notice.  87GB has been freed up to be able to run the vm after relocating its 80GB C: vmdk to another datastore and relocating + registering vmx which freed up 12GB the vswp consumed.  A disk consolidation attempt after creating a snapshot from the local esxi web interface while the vm is powered on showed 0% progress for ~20 minutes and then "insufficient disk space" failure.  Running df -h or du -h -s . periodically while that was in progress showed no decrease in free space with the number always remaining ~87GB.  “Delete all” succeeded and removed the snapshot entry from the snapshot manager but didn’t actually remove the sesparse files.  Trying consolidation again from vcsa yielded same result with 0% progress for ~20 minutes followed by "insufficient disk space" failure.  My understanding is that the sdelete + vmkfstools -K (punchzero) approach to reclaim any space on thin vmdk is not an option unless snapshots are first consolidated.  Consolidation will be attempted again after hours with the vm powered off but I'm assuming it may still fail due to the delta size at this point. Any suggestions to resolve this other than migration to a new datastore?


[root@ESXi:/] df -h
Filesystem   Size   Used Available Use% Mounted on
VMFS-6     224.8G 128.5G     96.2G  57% /vmfs/volumes/datastore1
VMFS-6       7.3T   7.2T     87.5G  99% /vmfs/volumes/datastore2


datastore2 7.3TB capacity cannot be increased/expanded.

windows ntfs volume usage: 892GB on 1.5TB partition

vmdk thin provisioned at 7.28TB with 5.6TB actual disk usage in base vmdk

disk usage of largest sesparse file: 1.6TB

total disk usage by vmdk & sesparse determined from du -h -s . : 7.2T

datastore free space: 87GB



vmdk the windows disk is on:



-rw-------    1 root     root        7.3M Jun  3 16:44 data_5-000001-ctk.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root        1.6T Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000001-sesparse.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root         411 Apr 17 05:32 data_5-000001.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root       29.6G Jun  3 17:23 data_5-000002-sesparse.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root         326 Jun  3 17:08 data_5-000002.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root        7.3M Jun  3 16:44 data_5-000003-ctk.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root       29.4G Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000003-sesparse.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root         418 May 27 02:03 data_5-000003.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root       55.4G Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000004-sesparse.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root         403 Jun  3 15:34 data_5-000004.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root        7.3T Jun  3 13:13 data_5-flat.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root         558 May 27 22:58 data_5.vmdk




consolidation result:


contents of remaining .vmsd file in folder:


.encoding = "UTF-8"
snapshot.lastUID = "39"
snapshot.needConsolidate = "TRUE"


0 Kudos
8 Replies

Hi @tektotket 

Using storage vMotion to migrate the affected VM to another datastore usually fixed consolidation issues in my environment.

I too will like to know what other options are available. Hopefully one of our pros can jump in.

Please KUDO helpful posts and mark the thread as solved if answered

In the current scenario at the remote office no other datastore exists to use as a destination for consolidating via vmotion or vmkfstools -i.

0 Kudos

Has the Windows partition ever been resized, i.e. has the currently "Unallocated" space been used previously?
Are there other VM's on the datastore, which can - if required - be deleted, and later be restored from the backup to free up disk sapce?

Please run ls -lisa *.vmdk in the VM's folder and post the output.


0 Kudos

Regarding the windows drive unallocated space, I don't know the history but will research that.  There are no other vm's or folders under /vmfs/volumes/datastore2 but one .sf file is large enough to consider whether it can be removed.  Vmdk in the two datastore folders below are the only ones associated with the vm.  The numeric _3 and _5 suffix that ended up in the base vmdk naming does not refer to the actual number of disks in the vm:




[root@ESXi:/vmfs/volumes/datastore2] ls -lisa
total 1861760
      4   1024 drwxr-xr-t    1 root     root         73728 May 28 23:08 .
73689129449936      0 drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root           512 Jun  3 19:58 ..
4194308 126976 -r--------    1 root     root     129810432 Dec  1  2020 .fbb.sf
8388612 132096 -r--------    1 root     root     134807552 Dec  1  2020 .fdc.sf
33554436 263168 -r--------    1 root     root     268632064 Dec  1  2020 .jbc.sf
25165828  17408 -r--------    1 root     root      16908288 Dec  1  2020 .pb2.sf
12582916   1024 -r--------    1 root     root         65536 Dec  1  2020 .pbc.sf
16777220 1311744 -r--------    1 root     root     1342898176 Dec  1  2020 .sbc.sf
29360132   1024 drwx------    1 root     root         69632 Dec  1  2020 .sdd.sf
20971524   7168 -r--------    1 root     root       7340032 Dec  1  2020 .vh.sf
   1668    128 drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         94208 Jun  3 17:08 data
[root@ESXi:/vmfs/volumes/datastore2] ls -alh
total 1861760
drwxr-xr-t    1 root     root       72.0K May 28 23:08 .
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root         512 Jun  3 19:58 ..
-r--------    1 root     root      123.8M Dec  1  2020 .fbb.sf
-r--------    1 root     root      128.6M Dec  1  2020 .fdc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root      256.2M Dec  1  2020 .jbc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root       16.1M Dec  1  2020 .pb2.sf
-r--------    1 root     root       64.0K Dec  1  2020 .pbc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root        1.3G Dec  1  2020 .sbc.sf
drwx------    1 root     root       68.0K Dec  1  2020 .sdd.sf
-r--------    1 root     root        7.0M Dec  1  2020 .vh.sf
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root       92.0K Jun  3 17:08 data




[root@ESXi:/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/data] ls -lisa *.vmdk
   3204 77630464 -rw-------    1 root     root     85899345920 Jun  3 19:53 data_3-flat.vmdk
4197508      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           555 Jun  3 16:06 data_3.vmdk

[root@ESXi:/vmfs/volumes/datastore2/data] ls -lisa *.vmdk
29362180   8192 -rw-------    1 root     root       7634148 Jun  3 16:44 data_5-000001-ctk.vmdk
159385604 1684912128 -rw-------    1 root     root     1738003193856 Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000001-sesparse.vmdk
163579908      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           411 Apr 17 05:32 data_5-000001.vmdk
4196356 302080 -rw-------    1 root     root     31817474048 Jun  3 19:42 data_5-000002-sesparse.vmdk
46139396      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           326 Jun  3 17:08 data_5-000002.vmdk
113248260   8192 -rw-------    1 root     root       7634148 Jun  3 16:44 data_5-000003-ctk.vmdk
104859652  23552 -rw-------    1 root     root     31535931392 Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000003-sesparse.vmdk
109053956      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           418 May 27 02:03 data_5-000003.vmdk
155191300 29773824 -rw-------    1 root     root     59441000448 Jun  3 17:04 data_5-000004-sesparse.vmdk
167774212      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           403 Jun  3 15:34 data_5-000004.vmdk
16779268 6003804160 -rw-------    1 root     root     8004444650496 Jun  3 13:13 data_5-flat.vmdk
20973572      0 -rw-------    1 root     root           558 May 27 22:58 data_5.vmdk



0 Kudos

Regarding the windows S: drive partitioning question, there hasn't been resizing from windows.  It's unknown why/how the actual vmdk disk utilization is so high.

0 Kudos

According to the output, the base/flat disk consumes ~5.6TB, so it looks like that at least 4TB of disk space is used by the "Unallocated" part.
There may be some tricks to try, and reduce the flat file's disk consumption, but they are risky.

Is there any chance to temporarily mount another disk/datastore to the host (this could be an NFS share on a system with sufficient free disk space) which would allow to migrate/clone the virtual disk, delete the snapshots, then zero out the Unallocated part, and finally migrate the virtual disk back to the original datastore?

Other than this, what may be an option, is to shut down the VM, run a backup, remove/delete the large virtual disk from the VM, then add a new, smaller virtual disk to the VM, and finally run a file level restore for your S: partition from your backup. I have no idea how long such a file level restore will take though.

Regarding the .sf files: Do not touch them, they are part of the VMFS file system.



Just thinking of backup&restore. What should also work is to backup the VM using Veeam, then delete the complete VM from the disk, and restore it from the backup. This should be way faster than a file level restore, and will end up with consolidated snapshots, which should then also allow to zero out the "Unallocated" part, to reduce the space usage on the datastore.



The feedback is appreciated.  No hardware resources are available at this remote office to mount internally or via nfs right now. The ESXi host reaches the Veeam server in another part of the country through 100Mb/50Mb broadband at ~50ms latency.  The vm is in production use during daytime hours which complicates this.  Procuring an internal sas or sata drive to add another datastore to the server as a destination for vmotion, vmkfs consolidation, or copying directly between ntfs may be what we do.


Followup update:  the result of attempting consolidation is the same while vm is powered off as guessed.  the other options will be reviewed.


0 Kudos