Virtual Provisioning for Exchange 2010 makes sense for the same reasons that people don’t buy a year’s supply of groceries when they go to the market.
You get groceries as you need it – daily, weekly, bi-weekly – and you save on potential space in the fridge or freezer and the cost of the power and cooling to keep the groceries cold or frozen.
The same logic applies for your storage environments.
Had a few customer briefings yesterday and this picture came in handy to explain my point… and although the pic above is Exchange specific, the benefits aren’t just limited to Exchange. One other area where it makes perfect sense is for SharePoint content databases. They start small and then grow like a balloon over time – but you don’t need to allocate all of that expected space up front.
Just remember when formatting to use Quick Format in Windows Server 2008 and for SQL Server database use the instant file initialization feature for database files so you don’t write zeros to the disk, destroying any benefits you might get from these features.
And to clarify – while thin provisioning is the industry-standard term for just-in-time allocation of storage versus “thick” or full allocation of storage, Virtual Provisioning is an EMC term that describes our management construct for delivering pooled storage… – how we eliminate the need for complicated RAID Group build-outs and have shifted towards virtually provisioned Pools of storage (thick or thin).
Pools are good – and they are not just for the rich!