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Removing VM Snap Shots

Posted on 2011-03-12
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I am running VMware 4.0 and I was trying to delete a Snap shot in snapshot Manager but it seems like it’s taken a little longer to finish. It seems like it’s been at 95% for about an hour, when I view the job in my vSphere Client under task it shows that the job is in progress, does this seem normal? But meanwhile the server is down and I don’t have the option to turn it on, is there something I should try or should I continue waiting?
Question by:ahmad1467
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35116584
How big is the snap?

Author Comment

ID: 35116660
I had more than one so I was going to delete them one by one, it looks like it might have been a snapshot that was created by Symantec.
LVL 40

Assisted Solution

coolsport00 earned 668 total points
ID: 35116675
B/U software is supposed to remove snaps after the b/u jobs complete. Hmm...that being said, if your snap(s) are/is large, leave it run for now. It does take a while to delete large snap files.

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Author Comment

ID: 35116757
The Down side is this is my Exchange server so email is down now, if it’s taken to  long is there a way to cancel the possess so that I can turn the VM back on?  I tried right clicking on the task but canceled is grayed out.
LVL 42

Accepted Solution

Paul Solovyovsky earned 664 total points
ID: 35116796
Deletion of a snapshot is directly proportional to size.  If the delta vmdk is large it may take some time, I have seen it take up to a day when a customer took a snapshot when they created the VM and all the data was in the differential vmdk.

Download VMWare PowerCLI, you can use the cmd-lets to monitor snapshots via a single command line
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

bhanukir7 earned 668 total points
ID: 35120287
hi ahmad,

first of all never have snapshots for your critical servers like Exchange/SQL/Oracle as that will impact the performance.

When you have decided to delete snapshots, you have to wait for as long as the process takes and any action of cancelling or other things will cause more harm than helping you. As mentioned by paul the snapshot delete activity will try to merge all the old snapshots into the parent VMDK one by one.

Its always advisable to use powerCLI or the vmware-cmd command line tool on the ESX server.

you can log on to the ESX server and go to the vm folder where the files are located and try doing a ls -al to verify what all files are there and you will see that maybe 5 out of the 10 snapshots might have been all ready merged.

i was in a similar situation where one of our teams had taken a snapshot of a 1 TB oracle server and the delta files grew to 1TB and it took almost 15 hrs for the merge to complete.


Expert Comment

ID: 35124419

when committing snapshots the problem is that it requires more disk space. this is something that is well explained in the following articles:

so if you do not have enough disk space the "remove snapshots" function will fail always !!! No matter what you do. In these cases then the best solution is to clone the source VM to another datastore and test it. If not I would suggest to remove snapshots manually by using the CLI.


I believe that this snapshot is too large and that you do not have enough disk space to commit it.

Expert Comment

ID: 35127945
Do you have remaining space on the datastore?

Author Comment

ID: 35130064
Thanks for all the help and information, the removal did complete later that evening. The Snapshots were created when Symantec Backup Exec Jobs fail and left the snapshot behind.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 35130075
Yep...as suspected. That happens with my VM b/u software (Veeam) on occasion, as well. Lately it's been good tho. Glad it completed for you...


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