Example Architectural Decision – Memory Reservation for Virtual Desktops

Problem Statement

In a VMware View (VDI) environment with a large number of virtual desktops, the potential Tier 1 storage requirement for vswap files (*.vswp) can make the solution less attractive from a ROI perspective and have a high upfront cost for storage. What can be done to minimize the storage requirements for the vswap file thus reducing the storage requirements for the VMware View (VDI) solution?


1. vSwap files are placed on Tier 1 shared storage with the Virtual machine (default setting)


1. Minimize the storage requirements for the virtual desktop solution
2. Reduce the up front cost of storage for VDI
3. Ensure the VDI solution gets the fastest ROI possible without compromising performance

Architectural Decision

Set the VMware View Master Template with a 50% memory reservation so all VDI machines deployed have a 50% memory reservation


1. Setting 50% reservation reduces the storage requirement for vSwap by half
2. Setting only 50% ensures some memory overcommitment and transparent page sharing can still be achieved
3. Memory overcommitment is generally much lower than CPU overcommitment (around 1.5:1 for VDI)
4. Reserving 50% of a VDI machines RAM is cheaper than the equivalent shared storage
5. A memory reservation will generally provide increased performance for the VM
6. Reduces/Removes the requirement/benefit for a dedicated datastore for vSwap files
7. Transparent page sharing (TPS) will generally only give up to 30-35% memory savings


1. Less memory overcommitment will be achieved


1. Set a higher memory reservation  of 75% – This would further reduce the shared storage requirement while still allowing for 1.25:1 memory overcommitment
2. Set a 100% memory reservation – This would eliminate the vSwap file but prevent memory overcommitment
3. Set a lower memory reservation of 25% – This would not provide significant storage savings and as transparent page sharing generally only achieves upto 30-35% there would still be a sizable requirement for vSwap storage with minimal benefit
4. Create a dedicated datastore for vSwap files on lower Tier storage


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