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VMware file confusion - snapshot deletion

Hello. I may have a very bad situation on my hands and need some hand-holding. I have a VMware ESXi 5.0 host machine running two production guests. They have been in place since August running fine. I found out this morning that snapshots had been made on each of these machines by a sysadmin and were never deleted. Now I have host disk space issues, however both guests are running OK.

The problem is that there are very large active delta files - 600Gish worth!

My host datastore only has 42G available space.

I am afraid that if I "Delete All Snapshots" it will:
1) Fail (disk space?)
2) Halt the server in a very busy production environment. (two shifts)

If doing this simply slows everything down, I can live with that. Even if it takes a week. But if it stops everything in its tracks, I need to have a different plan, like restoring a backup into a new guest or something along those lines.

Also, there are large files in the datastore that I believe are left over from a no-longer-needed guest machine, but I am afraid to delete anything based on file dates. I confirmed the files with today's date are the ones in the current running configuration.

Attached are some jpegs with more info:
Configuration overviewDatastore BrowserDelta files
If I free up space by deleting those old files from the datastore can I get away with committing the snapshots?

Please, please advise.
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ChrisHelvey
Asked:
ChrisHelvey
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1 Solution
 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Do not do anything, and we can work through your options!

1. If you delete it will fail, as you do not have enough storage space.

2. If you delete it will take many hours to complete.

Please also read my EE Article

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
I'm reading... Thanks.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Chris

there are a few issues here, 600GB is a very large snapshot to merge, and will take many many hours, possibly days to complete.

as the VM is on, the snapshot will grow, if ALL the datastore space is filled, the VM will stop.

You do not have enough storage space to delete the snapshot.

Options:-

1. Use VMware vCenter Converter Standalone 5.5 to create a V2V, which will convert the VM off the server to a workstation of file share.

Once completed, you will then need to delete original VM, and use V2V to convert back.

Unless you can add more storage. e.g. iSCSI or NFS.
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
And when you say "days to complete," which I'm sure it will, this is with the Guest OFF, correct? (If I were to add storage from, say, NFS) If I can do that while the guest is ON, that could be an option.

I use drivesnapshot.exe to get image backups, so I do know how I can recover using those images if I need to. I'm now looking for the way to let the machine do the work. (Copying backup images takes a long time, etc...) As long as it's safe.

If I added physical storage, does the datastore with all the guests need to be moved to this presumably much larger disk, or is it "added" to the current datastore to be used by VMware?
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
OK, I have an option opening up. One of the drives (a 500G provisioned drive of which 100G is actually used,) in the MSSQL server CAN be REMOVED from the guest machine, potentially freeing up over 500G. It is presently being used for backups of other things and that can be worked around. So:
1) Can I delete a drive from the configuration if a snapshot is active?
2) Considering that the machines are fairly small, could I go ahead and delete the snapshots then? (Still knowing it will take some time.)
3) Does this mean those guests must be turned off?

Please take a look at the delta files to see what I mean.

Thanks
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Guest on or off, it will take many days, hours, minutes to complete performance will be terrible, and there is the danger, that it's that large it will fail!

depends on the speed of storage.

Once you start the operation it cannot be cancelled, if you do, it will corrupt the VM, you've got to have serious "BALLS OF STEEL" to complete a Snapshot Deletion whilst the VM is ON, yes it may keep service up, but service will be poor.

What is the VM?

If you can add additional storage we can clone out the existing VM with snapshot to new datastore, again this is going to take many hours to complete with VM off.

So what is the VM, what's the VM purpose?

Be careful making any changes to the VM, because all those changes will be reducing the storage space......
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. No
2. No
3. Yes, and you've got to wait for the merge.

Do you have vSphere vCenter Server ?

What is the server?

Best recommended action is:-

1. CLONE the disk, which will remove the snapshot to new datastore.
2. V2V the VM to the new datastore.

VM will have to be off.

Is it critical this VM remain on?
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
Without that 500G drive, the delta disk is about 100G on one guest and 50G on the other.
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
OK. I missed your last post. I'm going to use my image and recreate the guests this weekend.
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ChrisHelveyAuthor Commented:
Excellent help. Thanks.
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