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Thin Provisioning – Defining Thin Provisioning From Basics

Thin Provisioning is an exercise of employing virtualization technology in order to give an appearance of more physical resource than it actually has in reality. It is a technological mechanism which applies to large scale storage virtualization systems, Storage Area Networks and computer disk storage systems which are available on a centralized platform. In some contexts Thin Provisioning is also referred as Sparse Volumes. In shared environments related to storage, Thin Provisioning offers the flexibility of optimizing utilization of the available storage space.

In conventional storage provisioning models, storage space is allocated beyond the need in anticipation of growing storage capacity need and increased data complexity. This practice is also known as fat provisioning. Thin Provisioning completely nullifies the traditional method of allocating all blocks for storage and instead offers on-demand allocation of data blocks. So, by thin provisioning you can add storage when necessary without downtime, avoid over provisioning by making unused space available and create available storage by reclaiming unused thin pool space.

As a result organizations can purchase less storage capacity up front, postpone upgrades related to actual business usage and can typically save the operational costs like electricity and floor space which are otherwise associated with the functioning of unused disk capacities.

Thin provisioning can act as a powerful controlling tool related to cost and growth of storage and can be combined with the integrated data movement technology. It can act as an archiving strategy and so can offer a permanent control over a primary storage.

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