Snapshot issue on Vsphere4

DarITeam
DarITeam used Ask the Experts™
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We have a VM that had several snapshots that were eating up a 500GB Lun.
So we clicked the delete all button which took them out of the snapshot manager, but  not the folder.

We have about 18GB left on the lun.

What can we do to fix the issue?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
How much space did you have on the LUN, when you hit the Delete ALL Button, it's possible, that all they have been removed from Snapshot Manager the process has not been comepleted.

Are the Snapshots still being written to an growing.

You will either need to increase space on the LUN, or use VMware Converter to complete a V2V to get yourself out of this snapshot situation.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
How large are the files which are left?

You could hit the Create Snapshot, wait 60 seconds, and hit Delete again, and see if they disappear, but be warned if low on storage space on the datastore, the VM could fail.

Author

Commented:
We did this last night and had about 10GB .
The last snapshot was 46GB.

Capacity is 499.75GB
Provisioned is 787.69GB

Free is 18.51GB
We are using thick provisioning and I just looked in the folder and seen all those snapshots still there.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
If you only had 10GB free, that would not have been enough to committ all the snapshots. It has probably failed, and you are still running on a snapshot disk.

How many snapshots, and is the last snapshot still increasing.

I would either

1. Backup VM now.
2. Clone to another datastore.
3. or use VMware Converter to create a new machine without snapshots.
4. Increse space on datastore and try again.

46GB snapshots would take a few minutes to delete.

Some reading, if you are not certain how snapshots work

A snap shot is a way to preserve a point in time when the VM was running OK before making changes. A snapshot is NOT a way to get a static copy of a VM before making changes.  When you take a snapshot of a VM what happens is that a delta file gets created and the original VMDK file gets converted to a Read-Only file.  There is an active link between the original VMDK file and the new delta file.  Anything that gets written to the VM actually gets written to the delta file.   The correct way to use a snapshot is when you want to make some change to a VM like adding a new app or a patch; something that might damage the guest OS. After you apply the patch or make the change and it’s stable, you should really go into snapshot manager and delete the snapshot which will commit the changes to the original VM, delete the snap, and make the VMDK file RW. The official stance is that you really shouldn’t have more than one snap at a time and that you should not leave them out there for long periods of time. Adding more snaps and leaving them there a long time degrades the performance of the VM.  If the patch or whatever goes badly or for some reason you need to get back to the original unmodified VM, that’s possible as well.  

I highly recommend reading these 2 articles on snaps:

Understanding Snapshots - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1015180
Snaphot Best Practices - http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1025279

Also check out the following Snapshot Articles by Eric Siebert

Pt.1- http://is.gd/Lajg4p
Pt.2- http://is.gd/NdKQWC
Pt.3- http://is.gd/tp2vEK

Author

Commented:
How do you clone to another datastore?

Or backup VM.

Boss made another volume on another storage LUN and is moving web data over to it.
That should free 75GB of space and put us around 90GB. Do you think that is enough to create a snapshot and delete it, considering they snapshots have ranged from 20GB- 56GB?

Author

Commented:
Looking on the Date Modified I don't see the latest snapshot growing if that's what you mean.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
do you use vCenter?

what do you use to backup you VMs?

Author

Commented:
I take that back it looks like wwwtest_1-000001.VDMK is being written too, but it seems so small at this point.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
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Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
yes, it depends on what writes and changes are occuring and being written to th VM, get written to this file.

Author

Commented:
I use Vcenter, but I use a third party to back up the machines themselves. Yosemite Backup Server.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
once you have the 90gb free on the datastore, try creating a new snapshot with snapshot manager, wait 60 seconds and delete, then be patient and wait, it is likely to maybe stick at 95% for a while, do not cancel, just be patient and let finish.

Author

Commented:
I will give that a shot. If that doesn't work what's plan "B"?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Use VMware Converter or Clone function to clone the VM.

Author

Commented:
OK and  make sure we have enough space on the other datastore?
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
When using VMware Converter or Clone function, you only need the same amount of space as the base virtual disk, as the snapshots will not exist in the converted/cloned new VM.

Author

Commented:
OK thanks!

Author

Commented:
This sounds like a dumb question, but what if I just delete them from the data store?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
youll not be able to because

1. they will be locked
2. if you do all the changes since you enabled the snapshot will be lost.

bad idea! probably not be able to start vm, vm will be corrupted etc

Author

Commented:
I just started to think about something.

We thick provisioned the drives for the datastore so essentially we are committed to the 250GB plus the 20GB for our C: drive on datastore2 (499.00GB- we are using 270GB plus the snapshots)

If we create another drive on a different datastore and moved data over there it does us no good because we are still committed to that space on the initial datastore. so it does not shrink our usage. So we are going to have to shut down the VM and shrink the  Disk provisioning to the size we need and then take a snapshot then delete it? Hopefully that works? Because that is our plan right now I suppose.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
To committ the snapshot youll  need to free space on current datastore, and try committ snapshot.

if that does not work you will have to clone or V2V to another datastore with space equal to current virtual disk size minus snapshot.

or V2V off the server to external share, remove VM, and then Convert VM back to datastore.

in the disk current state with snapshot youll not be able to alter the current disk, eg shrink.

Author

Commented:
Well we moved all of the VMs off the datastore2 and the only thing left is the www VM
it has 1 20GB thick provisioned and 1 250 Thick provisioned . Nothing is on the Volume right now so all we have is a Capacity of 499GB We are provisioned @ 741GB and we have 27GB left of free space on datastore2
We created another thick provision on datastore4 moved some data over, but because of the current snapshot state we will not be able to shut down our www VM and change the datasize of our 250GB thick
provisioned partition/drive. So the only logical solution is to clone or do a V2V.

Uggh where am I going to find the space.  Wish me luck.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
if you got the free space now on the datastore try the quick create and delete snapshot and wait.

Author

Commented:
even with 27 GB?

Author

Commented:
That did not work.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
try a V2V using VMware Converter.

Author

Commented:
trying that now as soon as I get this VM to shut off.
That will let me resize the partitions

Author

Commented:
V2V doesn't work since it says it can't contain the hardware information for the move.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
I don't understand why VMware Converter cannot convert your virtual machine to another virtual machine?

Author

Commented:
I don't either.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
what was the error when you used converter?

Commented:
Unable to obtain hardware info is a known issue if you're using VMware Convertor 4.3, and you use it to try to convert a system that was previously converted with an earlier release of VMware Convertor (initial P2V conversion with 4.2, perhaps???)

In such cases, VMware Convertor 4.3 will install its agent over top of the previous version of its agent inside the VM, and cause both agent installs to become corrupt.  The fix is to uninstall the agents from the VM, then try the conversion again.

Author

Commented:
We had to use command line from one of our Host to clone which seemed to work.
Thanks for helping out.

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