Using SnapShot to Restore Lost Data

Would it be a feasible solution as a temporary backup to preserve data on a VM? So if we have a VM with three disks and each disk is 100 GB and we take a snapshot of the VM and then do work on the server resulting in losing several files on one of the disks or possible the entire disk can the snapshot that was taken right before the work be used to restore the lost data?

What we are planning on doing is if a system does not have a backup do a snapshot, do the work, when all is well delete the snap shot.

Also, is there a worry if the disks are thick or thin provisioned?
REIUSAAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Snapshots ARE *not* Backups.

Snapshots are designed for quick roll backs to issue, e.g. Create a Snapshot, and then apply a patch, if the patch fails, revert the Changes, if the patch works, DELETE ALL the snapshots.

Do *NOT* make the mistake that some VMware Admins fall into thinking they can "backup" every day, by creating a snapshot, you will end up ion SNAPSHOT HELL!

Performance of VMs running on a snapshot is poor, snapshot sizes increase very quickly, if your storage space falls low, the VM will fail and stop, causing possible corruption.

Purchase a Backup Product or CLONE before making changes!

VMware ESX/ESXi Backup Guide

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

See my EE Article

HOW TO: VMware Snapshots :- Be Patient
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
Thanks. I just read your SnapShot article and thought it was very informative.

So in the situation of accidental data loss then it looks like even if the data could be reverted using a snapshot it would take a very long time if there was much data loss at all.

Is it safe to say that a snapshot should not be used as a temporary backup method for large amounts of data loss. I understand that it should be used for a short time and then deleted.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Snapshots are temporary. (e.g. do not have a VM running on a snapshot for long, maximum of two days).

I personally DO NOT like Snapshots at all.

Before we complete *ANY* VM Change, we Run a Backup, and CLONE the VM. So we have two backups, just in case.

Some VMware Admins,

1. Take a Snapshot
2. Make changes to VM, Test them, and either Revert (roll back/undo changes) or DELETE ALL and COMMIT the change.

This should be done, quickly....

Performance is very poor on a snapshot!

Get your Backup and Restore Application working.....even if it's.....Export and Import...

see here

Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE
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Pramod UbheCommented:
indeed, snapshot is a different thing than backup however it can be used as backup if there are no changes made to that VM after taking snapshot.
reverting a snapshot will get your VM to the state when snapshot was taken.
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REIUSAAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help. This answers my question. And I agree a real backup is the best option.
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