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VMware snapshots are widely used for different purpose, but the main reason why they exist in vSphere is to help backup programs: using VADP a backup can start a VM snapshot in order to have a frozen file, copy it (or copy only the changed block with CBT and virtual hardware 7 or greater) and then release the snapshot.

Other usage are to have a just in point rollback during patches or big changes, but a recommended practice is to release the snapshot as soon as possible.

Large snapshots or broken or invalid snapshots are common issues in VMware virtual environments. And monitor the snapshots size it’s a must!

One simple way is build a vCenter custom alarm (by default nothing is defined to monitor the snapshots grow). The alarm should be VM based, the trigger is VM Snapshot Size and you can apply it at vCenter level, datacenter, cluster or also at VM level, depending on your needs.

VMalarm-Snapshot

As you can notice the snapshot is not in percenter, but in absolute size, that can be tricky if you have big and small VM (for example a big Exchange Server can grow faster during the backup window). But is a first simple solution.

Another way is use the Storage Views tab at cluster level and simple order by Snapshot size… it really fast (but remember that you need to update the data manually if are not recently).

StorageViews

But If you have installed or upgraded to VMware vSphere 6.0 your may have notice that this tab is missing! Using Storage Views to monitor the VM snapshots size is no more an option with laters vSphere release!

I don’t know the reason why has been removed (maybe because the multipathing status was useless or why the data need manual update in most cases)… but you have to find other tools for monitor your snapshots in a simple way.

Some possibilities are:

  • opvizor Snapwatcher can not only monitor, but also remove snapshots with a single click, and it’s free!
  • RVTools has a dedicated tab for snapshot size and it’s free!
  • Veeam Snapshot Hunter included in Veeam Availability Suite 8 can remove stuck snapshots (for more information see how does it work)
  • Veeam ONE can monitor snapshots and snapshots grow and it’s included in several Veeam bundle
  • Scripting can be another solution (you can monitor for example the vmdk name to identify if there is or not a snapshot.
Andrea MauroAbout Andrea Mauro (2908 Posts)

Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Architect. Tech Field delegate. VMUG IT Co-Founder and board member. VMware VMTN Moderator and vExpert 2010-18. Dell TechCenter Rockstar 2014-15. Microsoft MVP 2014-16. Veeam Vanguard 2015-18. Nutanix NTC 2014-18. PernixPro 2014-16. Several certifications including: VCDX-DCV, VCP-DCV/DT/Cloud, VCAP-DCA/DCD/CIA/CID/DTA/DTD, MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, CCA, NPP.


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