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vSphere 4 VMWare - Lots of Virtual Disks

Posted on 2010-09-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi All,

I've woken up this morning to find my virtual enviroment suspended due to lack of disk space.

I'm having trouble understanding something on one of our virtual servers. Dynamics is a SQL 2005 server hosted on Windows 2003 x86 that has 3 disks (2x60GB, 1x30GB). There are no snapshots, and the machine is currently powered off.

When I look in the VMWare datastore, I can see GBs of files and can't understand why they're there!

Please see attached. Hope someone can help!

Thanks in advance, Pete
Dynamics.jpg
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Question by:PeterHing
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 33574478
These are delta's for snapshots.
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Author Comment

by:PeterHing
ID: 33574513
Hi Neilsr,

Thanks for your reply. Do you know if they can be safely removed?

I have right-clicked the VM and in Snapshot Manager clicked 'Remove All Snapshots' (which took nearly an hour), and this is what i'm left with.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 33574531
Your left with all those AFTER a remove all snapshots? So in snapshot manager you are showing NO current snapshots?
Only thought then is that they are a leftover from a backup solution that is snapshoting VM's before backups and not deleting the delta's do the dates correspond to manual/forced backups maybe?
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Author Comment

by:PeterHing
ID: 33574603
Yeah - it's how it looks after. None of my other VMs look this bad - but also can't see why this one would have / or has been treated any differently.

Attached is how Snapshot Manager looks for this VM. The Consolidate Helper Snapshot is new to me as it wasn't there yesterday.

We have no VMWare backups (so to speak) - we backup the data on the VM's themselves. There is also no automatic snapshot schedule. We basically just run it as it is.

Snapshot-Manager.jpg
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Accepted Solution

by:
rverdam earned 250 total points
ID: 33574868
Looks like the following occurred:

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1003302

Follow the instructions in the solution section  to resolve the problem.
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Assisted Solution

by:markzz
markzz earned 250 total points
ID: 33575153
Unfortunatly this is one of the real buggers with VMWares virtualisation.
There needs to be more work done on the Snapshot technologies.
For you this maybe a disaster.
What you need to know.
Once you have run out of disk it's too late to remove snapshots. Removing a smapshot can pccupy as much disk as the original delta occupied. So if you have 10GB of data in a set of deltas you need to be sure you have this same amount available before inforportaing that snapshot.
Basicly at this point your in trouble.
My best advice is to perform a cold clone of the system as it stands.
So be sure you have about 200GB of disk available,
In the VC rename the original Server by appending it's name with "-org"
cold clone the guest  to another Lun using it's original name.
Once you have this sorted implement snap hunter.
OH and don't use thin disk.. I sure you don't need me to explain why.
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Author Comment

by:PeterHing
ID: 33575161
Thanks rverdam,

I am using ESXi 4.1 on a standalone server, and don't have the cloning feature mentioned in the KB.

Do you know if these files can just be deleted manually (by me) via the datastore without harm to the VM itself?
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Expert Comment

by:rverdam
ID: 33575237
You could try to copy the files locally and then use VMware Converter to clone the VM back to the ESXi without the snapshots. Whatever you do DON'T delete the files manually!
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:paulsolov
ID: 33577151
To free up some temporarily you can reserve memory for the VMs if you have available.  When you start a VM (let's say with 6GB RAM) and 0 reserve, vmware will create a 6GB virtual swap file.  SO, if you have 10 VMs..this could get you in a pickle.  If you clean up one VM at a time or reserve the memory before booting it will save you some storage until you get everything straightend out.
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Author Closing Comment

by:PeterHing
ID: 33616473
Clone to a different data store  did it for me
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