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Collapse VM Server 2.02 Snapshots

Posted on 2011-02-14
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We run VMWARE Server 2.02 on Windows 2008 and I am wanting to expand one of the disks, but when I run the command line it says I need to collapse the snapsots. I can find a place to remove them, but not collapse them. Where and how specifically can I collapse the snapshots please?
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Question by:networkn
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 334 total points
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Collapse snpahosts means remove them all.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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or if you want to preserve them for Backups, if you've been using them for that purpose.

I would recommend and use VMware Convertor to migrate and create a new virtual machine with the newly sized disk with the data and without the snapshots.
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by:networkn
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Err what? I thought that when you made a snapshot, all new data was wirtten to the snapshot, meaning that if you remove it you will lose all data contained in the snapshots?
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 334 total points
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When you create a snapshot, from that moment on, all changes are written to the snapshot, and not the main vmdk, it's not recommended to run on snapshots for more than 2 days.

You have the option to Rollback or Delete/Collapse the snapshot, which merges the data in the snapshot delta disk with the main vmdk file (this can take a long time depdending on how long you'vbe been running the snapshiot) hence, why it's not recommended to keep them running for a long time in poduction.

VMware Converter Download here

http://www.vmware.com/products/converter/

For the conversion steps, read Bestway article.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/A_3639-VMware-vConverter-P2V-for-Windows-Servers.html

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by:networkn
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So deleting the snapshot actually merges it with the base vdmk? I need to be 100% sure that I don't lose any data here.

I'll install converter.
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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How bigs is the delta vmdk file, and how long have you been running snapshots?
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by:networkn
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1 x 3gb snapshot file. Original vdmk is 15gb. 4 weeks
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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Okay, that's quite small.

VMware Converter is the safest option, but you shouldn't run on snapshots in production, because they grow out of control, people forget about disk space, and then the machine fails and will not turn on because the datastore, disk space has been used up, and you need free space to merge the snapshot. So be warned.

Most common question on EE, is I've got a Snaphot, and .......
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by:coolsport00
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Yes...deleting snapshots RETAINS all data, by writing the data within the snap to its parent (this is heirarchical, meaning you can have a tree of snaps so it will write to it's parent in the tree). Once the snap's data is written to the parent disk, the snap file is then deleted (thus why VMware uses the term "Delete" in it's snapshot manager, etc.). You can read more about snaps in this KB (it's excellent IMO):
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180
And snapshot best practices:
http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1025279

Hope that helps.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:coolsport00
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"hanccocka" is accurate - this is one of the most common EE posts. A couple things to keep in mind regarding snaps -> they are not a backup solution at all; that being said, try not to keep them longer than a day...2 at most. They were designed to protect you when updating VMs (patches, app updates, etc.).

Regards,
~coolsport00
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by:networkn
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http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180

Is it ok that it refers to esx?
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by:coolsport00
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Yes...the functionality of what a snapshot is (and does) is the same across all VMware platforms. But, specifically for Server you can reference the User's Guide:
http://www.vmware.com/pdf/vmserver2.pdf, beginning on pg. 195

~coolsport00
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by:networkn
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I used Vmware converter to convert it to a bigger hard disk which merged the content. Seems to have worked. I just want to confirm before I close this, that DELETING snapshots in Server 2.0 100% collapses the snapshot back into the main vdmk? No loss of data? What happens if you have 3 snapshots and you delete the middle one? Does it delete the third one and data written to it is lost?
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by:coolsport00
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Yes...it *COMMITS* the data to the parent disk. Please read the KB given. It explains your questions in more detail. Snaps are in a chain, when a snap's data is 'committed', it's done so to its parent disk, which may not be the source/orig virtual disk if there are more than 1 snapshots. If you delete a middle of 3 snaps, you could lose your VM as a whole, or more than likely just the 3rd and middle snap data. I honestly don't know why VMware has the ability to have "tree'd" snaps. It causes more confusion and potential for corruption than benefit. But, they give users flexibility for their product, I guess.

Regards,
~coolsport00
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