The size of your vCenter Server Database is largely based on the amount events/tasks and performance statistics that you retain for your vSphere environment. You can view and edit these settings by going to the vCenter Server "General" settings as shown in the screenshot below (documentation here and here):
A common misconception when changing any one of these retention policies, especially when decreasing the amount of data to be retained, is that the existing data would be purged immediately to comply with the new settings. This is actually not the case and for data that is applicable for removal, there are a set of purge jobs that run on a specific schedule to perform the clean up. Below is the schedule in which these database jobs run for each of the data types:
- Daily Level - Once every 30 minutes starting at 00:00 (e.g. 00:00, 00:30, 01:00, etc.)
- Weekly Level - Once every 2 hours starting at 01:45 (e.g. 01:45, 03:45, 05:45, etc. )
- Monthly & Yearly Level - Once a day at 02:15
Events and Tasks:
- Once a day at 00:15
For customers that are looking for immediate results and reclaim storage from within their VCDB, you can take a look at the following VMware KB 1025914 which outlines the specific instructions. This can especially be useful if you are looking to perform a Windows vCenter Server to vCenter Server Appliance Migration and wish to reduce the overall amount of data that is being copied over from your existing environment.