Multiple Large VMDK Files - Need Cleanup

tholdren
tholdren used Ask the Experts™
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I have our email server on a VM and the datastore it resides on only has 20GB free space out of 500GB total.  There are multiple VMDK files but when I go to edit the settings in vSphere for this particular VM, only two of them are listed as the actual VMDKs that are currently running:

Hard Disk 1 (C drive for Windows Server 2008) - [Datastore1] ODC-MAIL1-000001.vmdk
Hard Disk 2 (D drive for Exchange 2010 databases) - [Datastore1] ODC-MAIL1_1-000001.vmdk

Are the other two large vmdk files needed?  My actual C: drive only takes up 21.5GB and our D drive with Exchange databases on it takes up 77.5GB

I've attached three screenshots.  Please advise.  Thank you.
vmdatastore.jpg
harddisk1.jpg
harddisk2.jpg
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Commented:
check Snapshot Manager you could have a VM running on a snapshot virtual disk.

looks like you have a snapshot, and eventually it will grow fill up the datastore and the VM will fail.

if snapshot is listed in snapshot manager proceed as follows

1. delete snapshot
2. Wait and Be Patient, snapshot merge and consolidation could take minutes, hours, days
this depends on size of snapshot and performance of datastore

if no snapshot is listed in snapshot manager proceed as follows

1. power off vm
2. create a snapshot in snapshot manager
3. wait 60 seconds
4. delete snapshot
5. Wait and Be Patient, snapshot merge and consolidation could take minutes, hours, days
this depends on size of snapshot and performance of datastore

BE PATIENT it could appear to hang at 95 to 99% for hours, but it will complete, do not be tempted to fiddle, restart vm, host etc

some more info on snapshots


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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