VMware vSphere

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  • 1.  too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 06:42 AM

    Hi,

    I do snapshots of all my 12 VMs daily.

    Each snapshot has an approximate size of 600 MB.

    My datastore is about to burst.

    What can I do?

    I am somehow unable to consolidate. I read that vSphere is telling me when it's time to consolidate. Did not happen yet.

    Also the button "consolidate" is greyed out in the vSphere web client.

    I have literally generated too many snapshots.

    Initially, I just wanted a daily snapshot, retain seven versions of it and then consolidate to a "full backup" (i know backup is the wrong word, but you get the idea)

    That "full backup" I then wanted to rsync to my NFS server.

    Please help.

    Thanks

    Sandro



  • 2.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 09:52 AM

    Hi sandrohfict,

    The option to consolidate is only available after you have a “failed” snapshot deletion. This will be why the option is currently greyed out.

    Before proceeding can you confirm the status of the environment? I.e. have you actually run out of storage space or are you just getting close?

    If you still have space then I would suggest that you start deleting snapshots using the Snapshot Manager.

    NOTE: You may still require more space while the snapshot is removed so make sure you have enough space. This will depend on the growth rate of the VMDK deltas.

    Kind regards.



  • 3.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 10:24 AM

    Hi ThompsG,

    I see. I still can delete them.

    Does that mean that if I want to retain the current state of my VM I just need to make a snapshot (now) and retain only this particular one?

    If I use the ESXi console, or just PuTTY, i see alot of vmsdk, vmsn, vmsd whatsoever.

    Which file do i need to "backup" in order for me to eventually restore the state in which the snapshot was created?

    Because I intended to move the snapshot to an NFS or somewhere.

    I noticed something else:

    In the whole snapshot chain of a VM, some snapshots are damn huge, even though didn't do anything with that VM. Like a few hundred MBs

    I just deleted a snapshot of 950MB, but it effectively just freed up 130MB.

    And then I deleted a snapshot of 2710 MB in size, and it only freed up 470 MB.

    Why is that?

    Thank you for your answer

    Sandro



  • 4.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 12:34 PM

    Hi sandrohfict,

    If the VMDK is thinly provisioned, then it can grow as you delete snapshots. That’s why you need to make sure you have free space when committing the snapshots :smileywink:

    In regards to retaining the current state, if you take another snapshot that will be a point in time. The deltas are the current state as it continues to move forward. The biggest issue with keeping snapshots for a long time is the risk that somebody might revert them which takes you back to when the snapshot was taken.

    If you are taking the snapshots as a type of backup then I would take a look at Veeam as they have a Community Edition which is free: Free Backup Solution - Veeam Backup & Replication Community Edition

    Please note I’m not recommending one product over another as there are likely other options that might work. A proper backup solution however will be way more reliable than snapshots.

    Kind regards.



  • 5.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 09:25 PM

    Thank you very much for your help.

    I finally figured out why snapshots shouldn't be used for a backup.

    I'm trying out Veeam. I already heard some good things about it anyway. But I didn't know there is a community edition.

    Thanks for the hint:)



  • 6.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 05:03 PM

    Snapshots in VMware producs are used in chains, i.e. each chain-link is required for the VM to work. You cannot simply move a snapshot to another datastore.

    Please take a look at e.g. https://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180​ to see how these snapshots work.

    To find out what can be done, to solve the disk space issue, please connect to the ESXi host using e.g. putty (you'll need to temporarily enable SSH in the host's settings for this), and run

    cd /vmfs/volumes

    ls -elisaR > filelist.txt

    df > df.txt

    Then download the newly created files - filelist.txt, and df.txt - from the datastore and attach them to a reply post.

    André



  • 7.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 26, 2019 09:37 PM

    Hi André

    I downloaded them. However, there might be an issue with reading it:)

    I couldn't make it prettier. weird.

    But I strongly assume that my daily snapshots of my VMs caused the problem.

    The snapshot task was active for about 45 days.

    45 snapshots * 12 VMs = 540 snapshots

    I thought my delta would be close to 0 MB, if I don't do anything with the VM. That wasn't really the case though.

    Now that I know that I can safely delete all my snapshots I'm fine again:)

    I thought I somehow have to consolidate after a few snapshots to create a "full backup"

    But my lack of understanding of how snapshots and consolidation works were causing this thinking:)

    Thank you for your help André

    Regards

    Sandro



  • 8.  RE: too many snapshots, no space on datastore anymore

    Posted Apr 27, 2019 10:15 AM

    From what I can see, all (except for vCenter Server) VM's have thick provisioned virtual disks, which is great, because this will not require much additional temporary disk space while deleting the snapshots. You currently have ~75GB free disk space on "datastore00", and deleting the snapshots (virtual disk file, swap files, ...) should free up ~400GB on the datastore.

    Make sure that you use the "Delete All" option in the VMs' Snapshot Manager to delete the snapshots. This will merge the data from all snapshots into the base (flat) file.

    I'd suggest you start with deleting the snapshots for the three "VMSKUBxx" VMs (one VM after the other). This should already free up ~230GB.

    André