Consolidation needed with too many snapshots how can I know which I'm on so I can remove from datastore the remaining?

We have a VM with consolidation needed.  On the datastore it is as high as 45 and it may take days to remove snapshots so I would like to remove them from the datastore.
Is this feasible?
How can I confirm which VM is the one in production?
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Jordan GUERDERIT ManagerCommented:

Do not delete snapshot files before consolidating the disk, this may cause data loss.
It is therefore necessary to waste time consolidating the VMs unfortunately.

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You have to deal with the snapshot chain, please screenshot, and post so we can advise accordingly and work with you to avoid a disaster!

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Indeed, you have no choice but to consolidate the snapshots. Removing the snapshots directly from the datastore will lead to disaster because each snapshot in the chain is needed for operation.

To answer your question, look at it like this: *all* snapshot files are in production for read operations, the most recent one takes all writes.

Best to start consolidation during off-peak hours and hope it gets through the snapshots before the next working day. Very important: check you have ample free space before starting this.
operationsITAuthor Commented:
Our situation and it’s our fault is our backup software takes a snapshot, mounts it and backs it up and should clean the snapshot.  It doesn’t always do that so we just started looking into the consolidate due to some performance issues.  I’m looking at the data store the .vmdk goes to 54.  We started a consolidate but it’s taking some time (likely obviously) but wanted to know if there was a quicker way.  Yes outside of the tools provided which is probably not advised.  Just curious
The only other way is to clone the VM. The resulting clone will be consolidated.

Of course this is best done with the VM powered off. Otherwise you'll still need to move any data that changed during cloning.
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