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too many vmdk files created

Posted on 2011-09-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I installed VmWare Fusion 3.1.3 and installed 1 windows 7 OS. I created one snapshot. 3 weeks back when i used right "Vmware Fusion" and click "get info" it was 4 GB. Today when I did, it was 32 GB. there are like 12 2GB .vmdk files and many many 384KB .vmdk files.

if this rate keeps going I will be out of space on my mac. why are those 2GB files created everyday and can I delete them
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Question by:learningunix
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 36556807
That's correct, and that's how Snaphsots work.

You are not supposed to run on a snapshot disk for ever, only use them for patching, small changes etc

A snapshot is NOT a backup of a VM; that is a gross misconception.  

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 VMware Virtual Machine Snapshots:

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
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Author Comment

by:learningunix
ID: 36556849
but if delete the snapsot and something goes wrong how will i bw able to revert back?
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LVL 120
ID: 36556868
The idea behind snapshots is

1. you create/start a snapshot
2. apply patches
3. if patches do not work
4. Revert Snapshot e.g. role back the changes
5. if changes have worked successfully
6. Committ the Changes by Deleting the Snapshot.

The point being you do not contiuously run on a snapshot (ever), otherwise it grows out of control, because every single change is benig written to a new file, it expands, becomes too large, and you run out of disk space, and the VM fails!

I would recommend, ONLY running on a snapshot for a short period of time, Max 2 days!

The other issue, is when you now try to Delete (committ) these changes, they will get merged and written to the main vmdk file, this can take, many hours or days to complete, many VMware users panic, and mess around, causing further complications.

So if you are currently happy with your VM currently, committ the changes, (delete) the snapshot.

then create a new one before making the next changes.
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Author Comment

by:learningunix
ID: 36556883
ohhhhhh....

that was really a bad misconception by me.  

i badly misunderstood it as you explained in your bad post. i m stupid.
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LVL 120
ID: 36556890
So, just use Snapshots, when you want to prove a change, that gives you the flexibility to Role Back (Revert or Delete) if required.
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Author Comment

by:learningunix
ID: 36556892
thanks a ton. i never knew about the linkage. i thought it was just a point in time snapshot
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Author Closing Comment

by:learningunix
ID: 36556895
Excellent!
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