Difference Between VDI, VHD, VMDK and VHDX Files

Are you searching for the Difference Between VDI, VHD, VMDK and VHDX files system? If yes, then in this technical blog we will discuss all the possible differences between Virtual Machine file formats.

A disk image file is designed in that way that it contains the structure and content of a disk capacity or hierarchy of a storage device such as HDD, floppy disk, flash drive, etc. Moreover, it is a copy of the storage device of the source. Hence, the content of the image file is system independent.

A disk file is a file that is present on the host system which can be seen from the help of the guest computer as a physical hard disk of a specific structure. Now, If the guest computer wants to reads or writes something to the physical disk then with the help of the virtual environment, it redirects the request to the image file. This means that a virtual disk is somehow similar to the physical disk as it also creates some specific storage when the image file is created.

What is the difference between VDI, VHD, VMDK, and VHDX format?

VDI (Virtual Disk Image)

VDI i.e., Virtual Disk Image is a format that is used by Oracle VM VirtualBox, an open-source virtualization process of desktop; where it can be mounted as a hard disk on Mac, Windows, and UNIX platforms that allows the user to run their own program written for all type of operating system in a high-speed virtual environment.

Features of VDI

  • One of the most distinguishing features of VDI is remote access.
  • A hypervisor is there and that is the best feature in which if a physical server fails your desktop instance will move to another server without any interruption.

Advantage of the VDI file

  • Security: Generally, we all will store our data in local hardware like laptops or PCs. So, in a situation when our system is stolen or damaged, the whole data inside the system will be lost. But in VDI, data is stored with high-level redundancy, so a user need not worry about data loss even if the device is stolen.
  • Cost Cutting: By accessing the VDI services from a cloud provider, the user can easily eliminate the cost of hardware. Moreover, you can access your desktop from any device and uses the most outdated hardware in your office. Also, a thin client, mobile or tablet can also be used for this same purpose.

Limitations Of VDI File

  • Many virtual file formats can be converted to VDI format whereas the reverse of this is not always possible.
  • You wouldn’t be able to use it to roll out an image to desktop clients until and unless they are using the VirtualBox.                                                                                 

Recommend: How to open the VDI file in Virtualbox?

VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) 

VHD i.e., Virtual Hard Disk contains the data of physical hard drive like file and folder inside the disk volume partition. It is typically used as a hard disk of a virtual machine. The virtual hard disk is developed by Connectix for their product named Virtual PC.

Features of VHD file

  • It allows you to dwell on multiple operating systems on a single machine.
  • A very cheap method to use multiple OS in one HDD without any additional partition.
  • Modify the VM directly from your host server that includes:-
    • The File Recovery system 
    • Manages the disk image and finally patching them.
    • The transfer of files from the VHD to the host system.
    • The security and antivirus application.
    • The full backup of the system.

Advantage of the VHD file

The advantage of the VHD file system are many but we can discuss some of them here. And these are:-

  • Supports Multiple Accounts: You can create multiple users for one operating system, as an operating system allows multi-user benefits. The advantage is that the changes made in one system will not affect the other one as they will be assigned to their own OS. And all this is done by creating a different VHD during the initial installation of the operating system.
  • Easy recovery and Backup processes: In this, you can easily undo and redo the changes that you did with the data of a VHD/VHDX file. Even in this, you can able to recover the corrupted and unreadable data that may be infected due to viruses or that might be deleted or accidentally damaged.
  • Effective Resource Utilization: This system is best utilized by the Software Testers as they need different configurations for running and testing a different set of applications. This will be the best advantage of this VHD file.

Limitations Of VHD File

  1. This VHD file has a storage limit of 2TB i.e., 2028GB by default.
  2. A portion of 512 bytes is internally blocked by VHD.
  3. No resizing of the memory is allowed when VHD is blocked.

You can read: How to Repair a Corrupt VHD file?

VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk File) 

VMDK i.e., Virtual Machine Desk is also a type of virtual hard disk drive used by Virtual Machines such as VMware Workstation and Virtual Box. This file system was developed by VMware. They developed this file system for their own virtual products. 

Features of VMDK file

  • VMDK file formats easily clone the physical HDD of your computer.
  • It protects RAID within SAN storage as its replication provides the off-site VM system.

Advantage of the VMDK file

  • VMDK is highly protected by the snapshots and CDP i.e., Continuous Data Protection.
  • These files can easily migrate or moved to the servers using live migration.
  • It is possible to recreate and restart affected VMs with the help of VMDK files.

Limitations Of VMDK File

  • It is hard to recover the data which is lost from VMDK disk and sometimes nearly impossible to recover parts of VM like deleted documents of Word or Excel sheets etc.
  • The maximum storage size of VMDK is generally of 2TB but it can be enhanced by 62TB.

Read: How to recover corrupt VMDK file?

VHDX (Virtual Hyper-V File) 

VHDX i.e., Virtual Hard Drive is a windows 8 Virtual Hard Drive file. It really looks like a real physical hard drive but is actually stored in a single file that is present on a physical HDD. Moreover, you can say that it is an extended version of the VHD file format with new capabilities such as performance improvement, data corruption prevention mechanism and a 16TB maximum allowable size.  

Features of VHDX file

The main feature of the VHDX format are:-

  • It will protect your data against failure by logging updated to the VHDX metadata structure.
  • The ability to store metadata about the data that users want to store or record.
  • It has a 4kB logical sector virtual disk that will allow for increased performance.
  • It has an advanced alignment of the virtual hard disk format which is used to work well on the large sector disks.  

Advantage of the VHDX file

  • BIG SIZE: the Bigger size of blocks are there for differencing and dynamic disk to help them to attain their workload requirements.
  • HIGHLY EFFICIENT: It has better efficiency in terms of data (also known as trim). 
  • DATA CORRUPTION: It provides ample protection which is safeguarding the data against the corruption for every situation of the failure.

Limitations Of VHDX File

  • The VHDX file can only support the maximum disk size of 64TB.
  • The VHDX file will not permanently belong to a virtual machine.
  • It is very hard to fix a corrupt VMDK file and to recover data from VMDK is next to an impossible task to do.

Check this: Automatically mount VHDX or VHD in Windows?

Expert Advice to Recover VHD, VDI, VMDK, and VHDX Files

All the virtual disk file formats have their own advantages and limitations. And talking about the limitations of these file formats we can say that it takes lots of effort to recover data from these files and sometimes it is impossible to do. So to keep a user’s data safe and secure Virtual Disk Recovery Solutions come up with 4 different Virtual Disk File Recovery Software that you can use to recover data from vdi, vhd, vmdk, and vhdx. 

Final Words

I hope now you have successfully understood the difference between VDI, VHD, VMDK and VHDX files. Additionally, I have also provided you the best solution to recover data from these file formats without any hassle. But if you have any queries about virtual disk files feel free to ask me in the comment section.