mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

Afraid to remove old snapshots. Disaster always occurs.

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I have several guests that have old snapshots associated with them that are very old. The delta disks are bigger than the original vmdk's at this point for some of them.

I have been afraid to remove these snapshots because when i've done this in the past, the snapshot removal/merge process would end up failing without any apparent method of recovering from the failure. The disks would end up becoming corrupt and I would be forced to restore data from a backup. I really dont want to be forced to do this again as it is a huge pain to get the VM back up and running and I'd rather not take a VCB backup of the image unrelated reasons.

Is there a safe way to accomplish this? Should I just clone these machines to a new one? Will that basically pull the deltas into one new vmdk and forget (and not care) that snapshots ever existed in the original? Do i run the same risk of these vmdk's getting corrupted?

thanks for any insight.

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chandlm
Expert
Expert

Usually I've just used Converter to do a live P2V and kept the 'copy' offline just in case. I'm not sure if a live clone would be any different, I haven't played with that too much yet.

I hate doing large snapshot removals because I am really impatient and once it times out I keep looking at the datastore hoping to see the files go away. Smiley Happy I know how you feel...

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chandlm
Expert
Expert

Usually I've just used Converter to do a live P2V and kept the 'copy' offline just in case. I'm not sure if a live clone would be any different, I haven't played with that too much yet.

I hate doing large snapshot removals because I am really impatient and once it times out I keep looking at the datastore hoping to see the files go away. Smiley Happy I know how you feel...

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khughes
Virtuoso
Virtuoso

I would agree that a V2V would be your best bet for stability and speed. Doing this also keeps your current VM intact incase the V2V doesn't work properly.

  • Kyle

-- Kyle "RParker wrote: I guess I was wrong, everything CAN be virtualized "
espi3030
Expert
Expert

Here here! Another good reason snapshots should be used temporarily, take snapshot if everything works then delete snapshot. Anf if something should go wrong revert to snapshot. Sounds like you have been relying on your snaphots as somewhat of a backup, no worries though. As others have mentioned VMware Converter will fix your issue.

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

I would convert the disk(s) using vmkfstools.

mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

Well I havent really relied on the snapshots as a backup, i just

have sometimes in the past forgotten to delete the snapshot for some

machines after a successful update.

Would using Enterprise Converter do

anything different/better for me with regards to the V2V process than a

right-click -> Clone would do? Or is it actually the same thing, just from a different place?

It would be nice if VI would have a warning system. Something

that would say something upon logging into VC like "Hey dummy you have

X day old snapshots for ServerX, would you like manage them?" I don't

like the idea of anything happening automatically with regards to

snapshots.

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mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

oreeh, I've tried deleting the snapshots manually from the command line with vmkfstools in the past and have had the same results as from the Snapshot Manager. Too big of a delta file just doesnt like to merge back in. I wish there were more specific parameters for this.

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oreeh
Immortal
Immortal

I said convert (= clone / export) not delete (vmkfstools -i snapshot.vmdk newvm.vmdk).

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chandlm
Expert
Expert

I'm not sure if it does anything that different, but I figure if I'm concerned about VC timing out or corrupting the VM files, I'd prefer to do the cloning from outside of ESX/VC and just treat it like a physical.

Just curious, with the problems you have had, did it actually corrupt, not finish, etc.? I've had many that have taken several hours (8+ in one case)....

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espi3030
Expert
Expert

I agree there should be some visual indicator of my snapshots. Ah! But there is look here, this came in very handy to me -->

Hope this helps!

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mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

thats a nifty little addon - thanks

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mvarre
Contributor
Contributor

Yes i agree it can just go and go. I've been told to let it timeout in VC and dont do anything because its still running. Well i've done that, and then the guest VM unexpectedly quits and wont restart and the remove snapshot process is no longer running. SOL at that point, i have no way of backing out.

Now I suppose i might get better results if i try the remove snapshot process on one of these machines while the machine is turned off, however i'd have no idea how long that machine might end up being down, and these are of course production guests I'm dealing with, so thats not the best option either.

I guess the converter option will be my best option to get back to zero now. I'll need to do some timed backups and restores from old to new vm for the process to work, but i guess this is the safest way to get the job done.

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espi3030
Expert
Expert

That it is. It takes very little configureing, I installed it on my vCenter server and changed it to only show 1st hard disk, and to update once every hour. Be cautious with the "Sync Display name to the VM DNS name" check box, our VM's are not the FQDN within vCenter, and when I checked that box it renamed all my VM's (not fun). Other than that this app is relatively harmless.

If you found this useful, please remember to award points.

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