VMware

Simple question(s) regarding Snapshots

Hi everyone,

Quick question that I’m sure will be super easy to answer. I’m still a little new to VMware, and I am currently looking at a couple of VMs that have about 5 snapshots on each and I’d like to/been asked to get rid of the snaps. I’ve read the basic documentation on VMware’s site concerning Snapshots, but one thing I think I may be overthinking is the hierarchy as far as parent/child relationship is concerned and deleting specific snaps?

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Essentially, if the Snapshot Manager looks like this:

**VM**

**snap1**

**snap2**

**snap3**

**you are here**

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Is the parent snap1? and snap 2 and 3 the children? Or is the most recent snap the parent?

What happens behind the scenes if I delete snap2? Are the changes there or delta rolled into snap3? Or if I delete snap1, I’m assuming that is the same as Delete All since it would delete and consolidate all changes from snap1,2 and 3 into the current state of the VM? Thanks everyone!!



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3 Comments

  1. Each snapshot is a separate delta file on the disk that is used to track changes. Typically the lowest level snap before the base disk is referred to as the parent, but it’s possible to have multiple snapshot chains going on the same VM, which can complicate things a bit.

    If you delete a snapshot, then all the changes in that delta file are committed down to the next lowest snapshot, or to the base disk if you are deleting the first snap in the chain. In your case, if you delete snap2, then all of its changes will be merged with the changes in snap1, and snap3 will stay where it is.

  2. So, deleting snapshots have already been explained. One more thing: you don’t want to keep snapshots too long. Usually, several days only, no more. I’ve VMs with ton of snaphots and zero performance. Snapshot is not backup, they are not mean for this, but often used as backup (also seen a lot ;))

  3. If your goal is to get rid of all the snapshots, the best thing to do is delete them all at once.

    It may take a while if they are big and old (potentially days!) but doing them one by one is going to be even slower and no less risky (not very).

    If the VM is vital then make sure the backups are good. If you don’t have backups shut the VM down then ssh onto the host and scp -r the entire VM folder to another folder as a safety net.

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