VMware - Server is running in snapshot mode and datastore is out of space


I'm hoping someone can give me some advice - I've had a look around different posts but none seem to quite apply to my problem.

I have a virtual Windows Server 2008 R2 (64-bit) server, which is on a host installed with ESXi 4.1. Some time ago, although I can't recall doing it, I created a snapshot. It seems that since then the machine has been running in snapshot mode, and I came into work this morning to the following error:

There is no more space for virtual disk CompanyName-Exchange_1-000001.vmdk. you might be able to continue this session by freeing disk space on the relevant volume, and clicking Retry. Click Cancel to terminate this session.

I clicked cancel, and after the fear of watching the virtual server go into an orphaned state (and come back up again) subsided, I looked at the snapshot manager and the datastore.

I deleted the snapshot, but this didn't complete properly due to insufficient space on the datastore. The snapshot manager is now not showing any snapshots, however the datastore looks like this:

 Datastore Browser
Looking at the settings for the server, it is actively using the 000001.vmdk virtual disks (which as you can see are quite large), rather than the originals.

What I believe I need to do is consolidate the changes and delete the snapshots, however I do not have the space to do this.

Any suggestions would be welcome!

Many Thanks,

Who is Participating?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
It's possible, that a third party backup software left the VM in Snapshot Mode.

Do you have enough disk space to consolidate the snapshots?

You could try Taking a New Snapshot, waiting 60 seconds, and Deleteing the Snapshot.

BUT, only do this if you have enough disk space.

Otherwise use Clone or VMware Converter Standalone to create a new VM with the snapshots.

Download VMware vCenter Converter here

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.x Documentation

VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 4.3 User Guide
chris2506Author Commented:
Hi Hanccocka,

Thank you for the quick response.

I have just enough space on another datastore, but am unsure how to consolidate to a different datastore (or even if it's possible); do you know if this may be an option?

I don't have enough space to start a new snapshot unfortunately.

I would assume that creating a new VM would take quite a long time, and this is a production server - is it possible to convert while the machine is still running?

Thanks again,

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
VMware Converter Standalone 5.0 or 4.3 will convert whilst hot!

I would use VMware Converter to create and convert to a new VM on the new datastore.
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chris2506Author Commented:
Thanks, I'm just looking through the documentation now and will post back!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Any question please ask away.
chris2506Author Commented:
Hi Hanccocka,

Thank you for the solution.

What I did in the end was to migrate a DC that was sat on the effected datastore onto the second that had space. This alleviated the problem, and the next step once the space had been freed up was to follow your suggestion to take another snapshot and then delete it, which removed the snapshot files that were taking up unnecessary space.

Although I took an extra step in the solution, I hadn't given you all the information regarding the other servers that were using the datastore in question, and so have decided to mark the solution as complete since the steps you outlined would have worked had this option not been available to me.

Thanks again for your help, and apologies for the delay in replying!

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