disk space not dynamically growing

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disk space not dynamically growing

Postby Phamiltonsmith » 19. Mar 2012, 04:42

I set up my Virtual Machine with dynamic disk space. While installing applications, I keep getting "out of disk space errors"... What could be happening

Why is the disk space not growing to allow the installation of new applications?

Im running a win 7 VM on MAC

TIA

P
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby stefan.becker » 19. Mar 2012, 06:49

Check free hd size on the host.

And check the free size of the image. At creation you give a maximal size. Maybe this is reached.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby mpack » 19. Mar 2012, 12:36

There is no such thing as a dynamically growing disk. Read the user manual, chapter 5.2.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby michaln » 19. Mar 2012, 13:00

mpack wrote:Read the user manual, chapter 5.2.

Not gonna happen, obviously.

But if anyone has any idea how to make it even more obvious to users that dynamically growing disk images aren't infinitely inflatable, we'd love to hear it. Right now the relevant text is in bold letters, and clearly that's not enough.

I think on average one person a day is awfully surprised that even though they set a maximum size for a virtual disk, it just refuses to go beyond that. Of course for people too stupid or lazy to read what's right in front of their eyes, there may be no remedy...
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby Phamiltonsmith » 19. Mar 2012, 16:06

michaln wrote:
mpack wrote:Read the user manual, chapter 5.2.

Not gonna happen, obviously.

But if anyone has any idea how to make it even more obvious to users that dynamically growing disk images aren't infinitely inflatable, we'd love to hear it. Right now the relevant text is in bold letters, and clearly that's not enough.

I think on average one person a day is awfully surprised that even though they set a maximum size for a virtual disk, it just refuses to go beyond that. Of course for people too stupid or lazy to read what's right in front of their eyes, there may be no remedy...


michalin,

Why dont you get off your arrogant pedestal and ask yourself one simple question: "why do these messages appear once a day???"

PERHAPS SOMETHING IS NOT SO CLEAR, would be the obvious answer!! But then that would be too complicated, would it not? Simple minds find it MUCH simpler to insult...

Best regards
P
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby Phamiltonsmith » 19. Mar 2012, 16:10

mpack wrote:There is no such thing as a dynamically growing disk. Read the user manual, chapter 5.2.



Tks. Indeed, its quite clear in the manual... Looks as though I need to increase the size of the VM...

For some strange reason I thought size grew dynamically (automatically??) as it was consumed... I stand corrected

Tks

P
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby mpack » 19. Mar 2012, 16:37

Phamiltonsmith wrote:For some strange reason I thought size grew dynamically (automatically??) as it was consumed...

Very few current OS's or filesystems could cope with a disk drive with a variable capacity on the guest side. So called "dynamic" disks have a fixed capacity on the guest side (like all other drives - and which they therefore cannot exceed) for which host disk space is allocated on demand on the host side.

Phamiltonsmith wrote:Looks as though I need to increase the size of the VM...

The easiest way to expand the capacity of an NTFS drive is to clone it using CloneVDI, being sure to tick both the "Increase drive size" and "Increase partition size" options. IMHO 32GB as a good usable drive size for light XP use - obviously it depends on what apps you intend to install. CloneVDI is a Windows app. To run this on a Mac host you would need to install Wine - I recommend a careful read of this thread. If the original VM uses snapshots then you should delete them all, using the UI, before attempting to resize the drive. You should probably also make a backup of the VM folder before starting any of this.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby michaln » 19. Mar 2012, 16:50

Phamiltonsmith wrote:Why dont you get off your arrogant pedestal and ask yourself one simple question: "why do these messages appear once a day???"

PERHAPS SOMETHING IS NOT SO CLEAR, would be the obvious answer!! But then that would be too complicated, would it not? Simple minds find it MUCH simpler to insult...

That's why I asked. What exactly is unclear? How can we make it more clear? The explanation is all there. I know users don't read it. How can we make them? Can we even?

We'd love to hear suggestions from users who missed the (IMHO very clear) descriptions. Is there in fact anything we could have done?

Maybe the real answer is that some people are never going to read the description and will end up being surprised. Since you're one of those people who missed the hints in bold text, I was hoping you'd know what we should have done instead. We would like to improve things, but simply don't know how.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby TimTilberg » 28. Mar 2012, 15:54

Hello. I just registered for an Oracle account exclusively to provide feedback to your comment regarding what would make things clearer.
While RTFM is always a helpful suggestion, with most software, basic usage can be had by following on screen tips and whatnot as you go through the process. With VBox, the process is extremely straightforward -- I have never come across an instance where I felt like I 'needed' to read the manual -- That's obviously a compliment to the UI team.

I came across this post because my win7 VBox was doing an update, and failed because of lack of disk space. I remember having distinctly chosen to make a Dynamically allocated disk when I made my win7 install, so I was surprised to find that I was unable to increase disk space. Obviously, as you have pointed out, I was mistaken as to the meaning of this term.

When you are creating a new VDI, it offers the following:

File Type: (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD etc)
-next-
Virtual Disk Storage Details:
"Please choose whether the new virtual disk file should be allocated as it is used, or if it should be created fully allocated.
A dynamically allocated virtual disk file will only use space on your physical hard disk as it fills up, although it will not shrink again automatically when space on it is freed."


Now, on the following page, there is a slider for choosing your storage capacity, which "will be reported to the guest OS as the maximum size of this virtual disk."

Since I just chose an option that said my disk space would increase on my physical disk as storage needs were required on my virtual disk, I figured there would surely be a way to change the "maximum reported" space usage later on. Since the tips were so clear throughout the process, I didn't feel I needed to rtfm. Now however, I can't install windows updates.

The craziest thing to me, is that I only have 2 software items installed in my Win7 instance, totaling to about 500 MB. All of the associated documents are on a shared network drive... So apparently Windows 7 eats up 20 GB pretty quick after updates -- Perhaps the "default setting of 20GB" should be increased when you are building a Win7 instance... I thought it would have been enough, but I guess I thought wrong.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby michaln » 28. Mar 2012, 17:03

Thanks for the feedback.

I suspect you're right about 20GB not being quite enough for Windows 7 anymore. I think it used to be enough, but as there are more and more updates that Windows automatically downloads, now it's not quite. We'll look into increasing the defaults. Anyway, that's a slightly different issue, because it's always possible to run out...

The text saying that "[the selected size] will be reported to the guest OS as the maximum size of this virtual disk" is correct, but maybe not clear enough. Maybe it needs to repeat that the virtual disk will not grow past that size?

FYI, the text on the earlier page has been slightly modified and now reads: "A dynamically allocated virtual disk file will only use space on your physical hard disk as it fills up (up to a fixed maximum size), although it will not shrink again automatically when space on it is freed". The bolding is in the actual dialog.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby TimTilberg » 28. Mar 2012, 17:31

Interesting... that change must have just recently been implemented, because I pulled that text straight out of the dialog to create a new machine from ver 4.1.10 r76836 which I installed quite recently.

I think adding that bold entry that you mention in your post would certainly help clarify.

The other change I would recommend, is being more obvious in the following dialog, "Virtual disk file location and size"
There is indeed the note that states "This size will be reported to the Guest OS as the maximum size of this virtual disk"

I personally feel that "maximum size" should be emphasized, and perhaps the title be changed to "Virtual Disk File Location and Maximum Size"

The word "Dynamic" on the previous page is very provocative, as you obviously know from the many other people with similar issues. The thing people aren't understanding immediately, is that it is dynamic in terms of disk usage on the host system, not in the guest system.

With all of this said, I wish it were easier to access and use VBoxManage.exe modifyhd $1 --resize. It was surprisingly difficult to find reliable information on how to expand an existing .vdi in current versions of VBox. The biggest thing that was tripping me up was an ambiguous error about something not being supported. I finally learned that this caused by the fact that I was attempting to modify a disk with save states (even though I was selecting the most recent version of the .vdi)

Once I cloned my current instance from a chain of save states, it created its own machine with a single .vdi and I was able to use vboxmanage modifyhd to expand my windows partition (thankfully).

Thanks Michaln for your request for input. I truly appreciate the work Sun did to get this project started, and that Oracle has done to continue maintaining it.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby michaln » 28. Mar 2012, 18:07

The text I quoted earlier is not in any release yet, so you wouldn't see it.

The word "dynamic" is provocative, but what can it be replaced with? "Dynamically allocated" seems to be a good description of what the virtual disks do. However, I think you're on to something that it should be perhaps emphasized that from the guest's perspective, the disk size is always fixed.

And a minor correction -- Sun didn't start VirtualBox.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby michaln » 28. Mar 2012, 18:13

Another thought. Would it help to have the user first choose the disk size/location and only then provide the fixed/dynamic allocation selection? That might force the user to think about the size first and only later decide whether the allocation on the host should be postponed or not, as a perhaps unexpected benefit.

FWIW, at least one virtualizer uses the term "thin provisioning" for dynamic virtual disk allocation, but I'm not sure if that enlightens or confuses more.
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby TimTilberg » 28. Mar 2012, 18:37

Another thought. Would it help to have the user first choose the disk size/location and only then provide the fixed/dynamic allocation selection? That might force the user to think about the size first and only later decide whether the allocation on the host should be postponed or not, as a perhaps unexpected benefit.


I think this is a very good idea.

The note about "Thin Provisioning" seems silly and confusing at first, but it avoids the word "dynamic." I still hint towards "silliness" though.

Thanks for taking time to hear me out! Cheers to VBox!
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Re: disk space not dynamically growing

Postby mpack » 28. Mar 2012, 19:23

IMHO, the word "dynamic" is ingrained now and should remain - and in any case can't be blamed for silly assumptions people make about its meaning. AFAIK, "dynamic" just means to respond quickly (or anyway in a timely manner). I'm at a bit of a loss to understand why someone would argue that in common use it means a disk with infinite capacity, despite that concept being obviously nonsensical given current filesystem tech.

The only advantage of "thin provisioning" is that the term is inherently meaningless, and therefore it can't easily be thought to mean something else.
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