Disk Usage vs Actual (Disk) Size

  • I wish to understand how pfsense work in virtual machine. I am using oracle virtual box.

    In my VM it shows actual size of 7.81G (despite my virtual drive is 100G). In my pf box GUI it shows 94% disk usage.

    Please confirm if pfsense disk usage refers to the usage from "actual (disk) size" in the virtual box?


  • Banned

    Are you running "thin" or "thick" provisioning??

  • Those terms are too technical to me. I am only a pf newby. If you could term that in layman's term.  ;D

  • Banned

    When you set it up using Virtualbox, what kind of disk provisioning are you using?

    Do you allocate it all at once in virtualbox or "use it when it grows"….?

  • This is what happen in my installation: (simulation installation in my laptop)

    1. Create Virtual Machine > Create a virtual hard drive now > create

    2. Hard drive file type - VMDK

    3. Storage on physical hard drive > Dynamically Allocated

    4. File Allocation and size > (I set 500GB, I have 1TB)

    However, when I check on settings, the virtual size is 500G but the actual size was auto set to 62.69MB

  • The problem is the same now as it was before. The "partition" has not been expanded to occupy the entire disk space after you increased the drive size.

  • but as you have advised before, I have reinstalled, even created a new VM.

  • Banned

    VmWare allocates "thin provisioning" out of the box…. you need to make it "Thick" when you create the VM.

  • I think you have to try pretty hard to end up with these problems.  I have a couple VMs that use dynamically expanding volumes (although I don't set any more up that way).  They always from the beginning showed the maximum allocation of the drive as "free space".

    Besides the thin/thick provisioning issue, be sure not to reuse that virtual disk you expanded.  Delete that disk completely of the server, create a new disk that is not the expanding type.  Make it 100GB of so and then reinstall pfsense.

  • Great!

    I don't know why I have never tried the "fixed" option where the virtual disk is equal to actual size!

    Thanks a lot you've done a big great help!

    I got a little concern though… So now that I have 100GB, what's your recommendation on what would I enter in "Proxy server: Cache management > Hard disk cache size ?

    I have upgraded from 4GB RAM to 12GB running in a Quad Core.


    what is "coss Hard disk cache size" ? What does it refers to?

  • Well - Assuming you give up to half of your RAM to squid as a RAM cache, that still leaves you 6GB RAM.  6GB x 20 = 120GB

    Had I known you were going to go and triple your RAM I'd have said go with a 150GB HD.  haha.

    Anyway, look at the memory available on the main page of your pfsense.

    It should be somewhere near 90GB.  So, with that much RAM pfsense can handle a 90GB disk cache, no problem.

    Depending on which means more to you, stability for sure or maximizing resource utilization, you might want to go with 80GB to make sure you never get near your limits.  Just depends.  I try to keep mine nice and safe and yet, I'm at 75% today.  Had I tried to ride the edge, I'd be crashed already.  80GB = 81920 in that blank you asked about.

    "coss Hard disk cache size?"  Not sure.  Show me.

  • Thanks for that great advise:

    I am creating a simulation for experimentation, and I really need your great inputs as I am getting excited learning!

    RAM: 8GB
    HD: 1TB

    I'm gonna use VB.

    Please correct me in my allocation.

    Created fix VM disk of 100GB
    Allocated 81920 cache cap

    I am more into stability. Please correct my configs.

  • It will be stable.  You will come close to maxing out your RAM completely but shouldn't ever quite hit the limit or the swap space.
    You can also set your RAM cache to nearly 4GB.  3GB would be very safe.  Leaves 1 GB for system this and that.  If you ever do hit the limit, just tune ONLY the disk cach size.  Drop it 10% at a time until you no longer max out RAM then leave it.

    **  I edited.  I made a math error originally.

    Currently I'm at 90% of 4GB with only a 40GB disk cache and 1.5GB RAM cache.
    90% of 3818 MB

    Ideally you want to chew up almost all your resources, but not quite.  Its taken 1 month of continual usage for my caches to fill to this point.

  • Currently, my "Memory Cache Size is 8". So what number shall I input in order to set the RAM cache to nearly 4GB or 3GB?

  • Input 3072 to that blank.

    My memory usage has decreased from 90% to 88%, so my settings are working.  It maxed at 90% before purging cache.

    90% utilization is good enough for me.

    Because you have more ram than me, you may later need to adjust up or down slightly on the HDD cache.  Keep an eye on it.

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