[2 days left] What’s wrong with your cloud strategy? Learn why multicloud solutions matter with Nimble Storage.Register Now

x
?
Solved

VMWARE Creating Sparse-Provisioned disks, Preserving Snapshot history..

Posted on 2009-05-16
7
Medium Priority
?
469 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-11
Hi Experts,

I have a ESXI 3.5 (free version) vmware server that is chock full o' VM's.  I need to convert a number of the images to sparse-provisionded disks without losing snapshot history. I've heard that this is possible using a combination of vmkfstools and snapshot file hacking .

Step by step directions would be great!
0
Comment
Question by:alpha-lemming
[X]
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
7 Comments
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:markzz
ID: 24401985
Without entering into the discussion of retaining snapshots as a backup/restore method (don't do it)
I would advise you backup the guests before attempting this.
The basis is that it's not supported however that doesn't mean it can't be done.
I don't really wanrt to advise on something that is VERY likely to go horribly wrong.
The primary thing to be aware of is to ensure you have at least the amount of disk free in the VMFS LUN as the guest sessions disks total.
eg. if the guest has a 10GB and a 100GB vDisk be sure you have 110GB free before starting.
0
 

Author Comment

by:alpha-lemming
ID: 24405345
Anybody done this or know how?
0
 
LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:markzz
ID: 24405498
I have not done this but can see a possible method.
Again just to enforce the point. It sounds like you are using snapshots for something they were never intended and you will at some point likely corrupt the guest disk by doing this.
I would suggest you commit your snapshots.
Shutdown you guest, rename the guest in the VI interface.
Via the importer, import the guest to another LUN using the original guest name, at this point you can decide what disk format you will use.
Be aware your disk IO will increase by using sparse disks.
I think many here would agree sparse disks are not the best method and you will have unanomious agreement that you need to commit your snapshots.
Funny thing these public forums, there are many here with significant levels of skill and years of experience with these products and proceedures, yet the advise is at times ignored. At least ignored until it all goes wrong.
0
Industry Leaders: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!

 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:za_mkh
ID: 24407377
I concur with Markzz ... snapshots are not backups and should never be used for them. Leaving them running, not only eats up lots of disk space, but there is a performance penalty to your VM too! His advice is sound!
 
0
 

Accepted Solution

by:
alpha-lemming earned 0 total points
ID: 24436704
Well, now, who said we're using snapshots as bakups? We have tape and offsite sans for that. We use backups to preserve developments points and branch from them, much like tags and branches in a version control system. Isn't that what snapshots are for?

I tried the idea with the converter, but it didn't offer me the choice of using a sparse-provisioned disk image..

After some research, I came up with the following  solution, which has worked fine on a couple of test VM's:

1) make a snapshot
2) clone the base disk to a sparse one with: 'vmkfstools -i <basedisk.vmdk> -d thin <basedisk-thin.vmdk>
3) drop the old disk from the vm, add the thin one, get the cid of the new
4) change the parent cid of all the snapshots to the cid of the new disk


0
 
LVL 21

Expert Comment

by:za_mkh
ID: 24466059
It wasn't our intention to scold you Alpha-lemming. That wasn't the point. The point was we  didn't know what type of backup environment you had .. there are lots of users on this forum that use snapshots as their only backups! And we have seen the types of disasters that occur when somebody use snapshots as a permanent backup tool.
In any case, please don't take offence. I'm certain none of my fellow posters tried to scold you. I know I didn't.
But thank you for also posting your solution to the problem which means other people could benefit from it. I know I will ! :-)
0
 

Author Comment

by:alpha-lemming
ID: 24467730
Ok, sorry for being so cranky. Too much coffee....
0

Featured Post

Cyber Threats to Small Businesses (Part 1)

This past May, Webroot surveyed more than 600 IT decision-makers at medium-sized companies to see how these small businesses perceived new threats facing their organizations.  Read what Webroot CISO, Gary Hayslip, has to say about the survey in part 1 of this 2-part blog series.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

The following article is comprised of the pearls we have garnered deploying virtualization solutions since Virtual Server 2005 and subsequent 2008 RTM+ Hyper-V in standalone and clustered environments.
What if you have to shut down the entire Citrix infrastructure for hardware maintenance, software upgrades or "the unknown"? I developed this plan for "the unknown" and hope that it helps you as well. This article explains how to properly shut down …
Teach the user how to join ESXi hosts to Active Directory domains Open vSphere Client: Join ESXi host to AD domain: Verify ESXi computer account in AD: Configure permissions for domain user in ESXi: Test domain user login to ESXi host:
Teach the user how to use vSphere Update Manager to update the VMware Tools and virtual machine hardware version Open vSphere Client: Review manual processes for updating VMware Tools and virtual hardware versions: Create a new baseline group in vSp…

649 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question