With the release of the 5.5 series of VMware products comes the ability to expand a single VMDK above the 2TB limit. However, there are some limitations/requirements you should be aware of first.

  • To expand a VMDK above 2TB the Virtual machine must be version 10. (Warning: Read about Version 10 virtual machines before you upgrade to them!)
  • Version 10 virutal machines can only be managed using the vSphere Web Client. (Not the traditional vSphere Client)
  • Datastore formatted in VMFS-5.
  • To use the vSphere Web Client you require a vCenter server. (Windows and Virtual appliance will work fine)
  • This effectively makes expanding VDMK files above the 2TB limit a paid only feature.
  • It should go without saying, the VM OS needs to support a volume larger than 2TB. (e.g: Windows GPT volumes)
  • You can create a new VMDK larger than 2TB with the VM powered on, but if you are increase an existing VMDK above 2TB you need to power the VM off.

Log onto the vSphere Web Client.

Shutdown the virtual machine you wish to add the additional space too. (That’s right, you can’t expand beyond 2TB with the VM online, schedule your outage people!) and edit it’s settings.

Find the virtual disk you want to increase. In my case it was my 1500GB volume.

Increase the space up to whatever you would like. I increased it to 3TB and click OK.

It may take a few minutes for the esxi host to allocate the space depending on whether you have selected thick or thin provisioning. You can track the progress on the right hand side.

Once complete, power on your virtual machine and expand the volume within your OS. In my case it was a Window Server.


Enjoy your new free space goodness. 🙂

For a complete overview you can refer to the VMware site here: http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=2058287

Information on this page is covered by our disclaimer.