When to take a snapshot of Vcenter VM

Out Vcenter is a virtual machine, I would like to know in which scenario should I take a snapshot of it:

- when updating windows OS (I believe I should take snapshot)
-when upgrading to a new Build ,example from 5.1.0 to 5.1.2
-when upgrading from 5.1.2 to 5.5

Assuming Upgrade is either uninstalling the old venter version and reinstalling new version.
OR
upgrading to a new version without uninstalling the old version

Thanks
jskfanAsked:
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compdigit44Connect With a Mentor Commented:
One side note,  like Hancock has mention snapshots are good but with anything in life must be used with moderation. Here is vmware best practices guides for snapshots..

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1025279


Also when upgrading vcenter the upgrade makes schema updates which affects your DB as well.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We are not fans of Snapshots, at ALL, so we would say NEVER!

By Taking a Snapshot, you are creating a delta or differencing disk, where all the changes you make to the OS, are created, performance of the VM gets worse running on a snapshot.

then, when you are finished, you Delete the Snapshot, which can take time, to merge the changes, depending on how long, and how large the snapshot is.

The danger is the snapshot does not merge, datastore space runs out of storage, and the merge process, causes poor VM performance.

AND, before you make ANY CHANGES to a VM in Production, it's GOOD Practice, to have a FULL BACKUP, not a Snapshot.

SO, I would recommend you Take and have FULL BACKUPS of ANY VM, before you make any changes to the VM.

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient

You can also use the CLONE operation (as a backup!)
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
If I understand , snapshots will be good just when you do Guest OS updates, not Vmware related updates?
for instance if I need to update Virtual Machine virtual hardware or VM Tools, or upgrade Vcenter build, or uninstall /reinstall Vcenter Application, the snapshot will not be helpful in this case.?
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Free Tool: Port Scanner

Check which ports are open to the outside world. Helps make sure that your firewall rules are working as intended.

One of a set of tools we are providing to everyone as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

 
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
We are not fans of Snapshots, at ALL, so we would say NEVER!

Take a FULL Backup of the VM before any change.

You CANNOT role Backup some VMs.

e.g. Exchange Mail servers, SQL Servers, Active  Directory Domain Controllers.

Do not use Snapshots, you will regret it!
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
I am not Fan of snapshots either,,
however I do not know the purpose of Vmware having Snapshot Manager there…
in which case it is recommended to use Snapshot Manager to take a snapshot?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
If you want to use the Snapshot feature, go ahead, but you would be well advised to make sure you have FULL Backups before making any changes to Production Machines.

VMware have introduced Snapshots, so Backups can work, and it's a feature from VMware Workstation, more often than not Admins do not know how to use them, and get into difficulty.

and Post questions here on EE.

To use snapshot, select Take Snapshot before you do you changes.
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
Andrew..
I am just trying to understand why Vmware came up with snapshots. they got to have a purpose when to use them
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You can use them anytime, but the responsibility is on the Administrator, when to use them, and what to use them for.

This is the issue Administrators, do not understand, the issues, they can cause, which I have listed.

e.g. if you patch a Domain Controller, and it goes wrong, would you Revert a Snapshot? (e.g. rollback all the changes in the Domain Controller, e.g. go back it time?)
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jskfanAuthor Commented:
Thank you
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