November 29, 2022

Can you use vVols with Horizon VDI?

Can you use vVols with Horizon for VDI environments? Yes, yes you can, but there are some caveats.  

I spoke with a customer at VMware Explore regarding using vVols with Horizon for VDI environments. The question was, "Is vVols supported with Horizon, specifically, does vVols support linked clones"?

The quick answer is yes, vVols is supported with Horizon 8 for VDI environments, but no, vVols is not supported for linked clones. Horizon 8 only supports vVols with full-clone virtual machines. vVols datastores are not supported for instant clone desktop pools.


Some of the benefits vVols offers are:

  • vVols storage operations such as snapshots, cloning, and Storage DRS are offloaded to the storage array.
  • vVols allow you to use advanced storage services, including array-based replication, encryption, deduplication, and compression on individual VMs or VM virtual disks.
  • vVols support vSphere features such as vMotion, Storage vMotion, Flash Read Cache, and DRS.
  • vVols enables you to manage storage capabilities using vSphere's Storage Policy-Based Management or SPBM.
  • You can use vVols with storage arrays supporting vSphere APIs for Array Integration (VAAI).


vVols, and vSAN, can allow a unique storage management granularity at the VM level. vVols and vSAN allow you to manage storage capabilities using SPBM. SPBM enables you to configure and apply specific storage capability policies and apply these policies at a VM level rather than the datastore level.

In some cases, vVols may not be a good fit for VDI based on an array's object limits. For each VM on a vVols datastore, there are three vVol objects on the array. Subsequently, if you have 1000 VMs, you would have 3000 vVol objects. In large-scale VDI environments, this 3x multiplier may quickly reach an array's object limit. In this situation, customers use a combination of vVols and either VMFS or NFS. For example, if you need to provision thousands of VDI VMs and they are all the same, you could create a VMFS datastore for those VMs. Then use a vVols datastore for more specialized VMs. The key aspect here is vVols is often used in combination with VMFS or NFS.


For more details on the setup and use of vVols with Horizon, please see the resources below.






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