To Exporting Hyper V Snapshots or merge them?

Greetings,
I have a virtual machine running with a tree of three snapshots. For a more clear picture, from the original VHD I have three layers of snapshots. I want a quick and effective way to merge those. Can I export the current snapshot? If I do that will it capture all the information in the other snapshots and original vhd?

I have not tried to merge them, because several posts online say they have had trouble with merging multiple snapshots so I was looking to just export the last snapshot and then remount the resulting VHD. If this is a bad idea, can you provide a quality, step by step process for merging the VHD’s?

All the snapshots are within 10 days from the original VHD.

Windows Server 2008R2 Standard (Host and VM)

Thank you
Robert AdvancedideaAsked:
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msmamjiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
First of all I am really sorry, I didn't follow-up on the previous post.
Use of snapshot is not recommended in production server. However, when using snapshot, you have to be careful especially during delete options, because the merging option does take a time and space. I leave you with a few posts where users had to workaround the snapshot merging issues, which I found very interesting.  
http://www.laneolson.ca/2009/10/09/hyper-v-snapshots-and-disk-space/
http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winserverhyperv/thread/bc56fcef-124c-4a23-b0be-281d4cb37565
Also a post which might be useful in the future.
http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2010/03/29/hyper-v-snapshots-suggestions-for-success.aspx

Cheers.

Shahid
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msmamjiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I have a virtual machine running with a tree of three snapshots. For a more clear picture, from the original VHD I have three layers of snapshots. I want a quick and effective way to merge those. Can I export the current snapshot? If I do that will it capture all the information in the other snapshots and original vhd?
I am assuming that by export, you are referring to the export feature you have in Hyper-V manager. If so, then Export normally exports the entire VM, i.e. it configuration, saved state (if the machine is in saved state), VHD and all the snapshots (AVHDs + Configuration at the time of snapshots).

I have not tried to merge them, because several posts online say they have had trouble with merging multiple snapshots ....
You may have issue deleting several snapshot at once and then let them merge. It is recommended to delete one snapshot and shutdown the VM, so the AVHD file can be merged. This can take time.
What happens when I delete a snapshot Hyper-V
Virtual Machine Snapshotting Under Hyper-V

...so I was looking to just export the last snapshot and then remount the resulting VHD. If this is a bad idea, can you provide a quality, step by step process for merging the VHD’s?
Well, like I said you can export the entire VM. There is no export feature for just one snapshot. As already told you can use the delete option merge the snapshot avhd to vhd.
You can, however, also do a manual merging of VHD and AVHD. This, however, requires you to remember parent-child relationship between VHD and among different AVHDs.
How to manually merger Hyper-V snapshots
You should however export the VM for the sake of backup, before trying any solution advised above.
Hope that answers you question

Regards.
Shahid

 
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Robert AdvancedideaAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the reply, if I just use hyper-v manager and right click on the current snapshot (snapshot 3) and select "delete snapshot" then shut down the virtual server, will that automagically merge snapshot 3 with snapshot 2?

Thanks - Robert

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Robert AdvancedideaAuthor Commented:
I went ahead and did a "live test" what a mess! I started with the bottom snap shot in the tree and selected delete snapshot and tree. Then I shut down the server. The status of the server changed to say “merging" it then proceeded to merge the bottom snapshot with the next one up in the list, but I did not realize that it would require so much room and I ran out of room on the hard drive. If you have a 20 GB snap shot and you are merging it with a 10GB snap shot then you will need at least 40/50Gb of HD space.
I had to get creative and free up space and after three more attempts the merge finally completed successfully and it deleted the .avhd file. I continued up the tree until all snapshots had been merged. Each time I deleted a snapshot and the merge was complete I would start the server to make sure it booted, and then I would change a text file on my desktop to make sure it remained. The merge took several hours as I was working with 140GB worth of avhd files.
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Darius GhassemCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program.  See my comment at the end of the question for more details.
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