ESXi 5.1 snapshots folder

Posted on 2014-01-05
Last Modified: 2014-01-27

On my NAS where I have a datastore for my vms I noticed that there is a folder named .snapshot and within that I can see several other folders named hourly.0, hourly.1,hourly.5, nightly.0, nightly.1, etc.

Within these folders i can see the .vmdk files for the vms running on the host. It seems to be taking up quite a lot of space on my NAS now as it's filling up now.

I only have about 3 vms out of 25 running snapshots and I currently run VDP to backup my vms.

Any idea what this folder is for and if I can remove or to clear up some space on my NAS?

Thanks in advance
Question by:dcirona86
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 39758367
sounds like you're running on a Netapp.  If so these are Netapp volume based snapshots and they use re-direct on write technology so the space they're using up is typically very small.  In addition if deduplication is enabled you can save 20% to 50% on the datastore usage.

Author Comment

ID: 39758394
Yes I am running NetApp for the datastores.
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 39758459
The snapshots are a point in time of the datastore when the snaphots were taken.  With that in mind the snapshots are not quiesced.  If you have snapmanager for vmware you should install the vmware plug-in and configure them as they can allow for quick restores.  In addition if you have flex-clone license you can  get a VM running from backup in 5 min.
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Expert Comment

ID: 39758480
As Paul said you should check that dedupe is enabled on your storage volumes.

We had a similar issue with the netapp snapshots using up all our storage (we use veeam B&R) after enabling deduplication on the volumes we recovered around 40% of storage.

The dedupe itself is not complicated to configure and enable incase you're concerned about that.
LVL 120
ID: 39758673
The folder is for Snapshots made by your NetApp Filer, at regular defined intervals.

You can disable snapshots, if you wish if you are not using them, or disable snapshot all together for your filer.

Author Comment

ID: 39758903
I removed those snapshots that NetApp was creating and it did reclaim some space but then something just keeps taking up all the available space. I noticed that the host with the datastore is telling me that the Total space available is 2.73TB but the Provisioned Space is 4.3 TB.

The datastore should only be able to hold 2.73TB so where is this provisioned space coming from and how do I clear it?
LVL 120
ID: 39758935

vmkfstools -y % (where % is the total amt of FREE space to reclaim)

VMware KB: Using vmkfstools to reclaim VMFS deleted blocks
LVL 42

Expert Comment

ID: 39759386
Sounds like your VMs are over provisioned.  Enumerate all your VMs and check to see if your VMs are overprovisioned or not.

Author Comment

ID: 39760492
vmkfstools  will only work on vmfs5 datastore types. The datastore in question is NFS
LVL 120

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 39760558
if it's NFS, install Snapdrive 6.3 or later and use the space reclaimation feature.

see here

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