Consolidating snapshots in vSphere 5.x (2003638)
Note: For information on consolidating snapshots in earlier releases of ESXi/ESX, see Consolidating snapshots (1007849).
DeleteAlloperations on snapshots, the snapshot details are deleted from Snapshot Manager, then the snapshot files are consolidated and merged to another snapshot file or to the virtual machine parent disk. If the consolidation fails, there were no snapshots shown in the Snapshot Manager, but the snapshot files were still being used on the datastore. This can cause an unmonitored datastore to run out of space.
In vSphere 5.x, you are now informed when a virtual machine snapshot consolidation fails. Administrators can initiate a consolidate operation from the vSphere Client, rather than from the ESXi command line. The vSphere Client now shows a Configuration Issue warning in the Summary tab when a virtual machine snapshot consolidation fails.
Note: The ESXi host that the virtual machine is registered on must be an ESXi 5.x host.
Checking if virtual machine consolidation is required
To check if virtual machine consolidation is required:
- Select a vCenter Server host or a cluster and click the Virtual Machines tab.
- Right-click the menu bar for any virtual machine column and click Needs Consolidation. The Needs Consolidation column appears.
- A Yes status indicates that the snapshot files for the virtual machine should be consolidated and that the virtual machine's Tasks and Events tab shows a configuration problem.
- A No status indicates that the files are OK.
Note: A Configuration Issue warning is also displayed in the Summary tab of the virtual machine indicating that virtual machine disk consolidation is needed.
Consolidating snapshots for a virtual machine
- The remove snapshot process can take a long time to complete if the snapshots are large.
- If the consolidation process is stopped before completing, it may result in data corruption.
- The virtual machine performance may be degraded while the snapshot consolidation process.
- It is recommended to take the VM down before consolidating snapshot(s). This will speed the consolidation.
To consolidate snapshots:
- Right-click the virtual machine and click Snapshot > Consolidate.
- Check the Need Consolidation column to verify that the task succeeded. To check the Consolidation progress see Commands to monitor snapshot deletion in ESX 2.5/3.x/4.x and ESXi 3.x/4.x/5.x (1007566)
If the task succeeded, the Configuration Issues message clears and the Needs Consolidation value is No.
Consolidating snapshots may be required when:
- The snapshot commit fails due to locked files. For details on how to release the lock on locked files, see Investigating virtual machine file locks on ESXi/ESX (10051).
- There is a temporary loss of communication between the vCenter Server and the ESXi/ESX host during snapshot commit. To refresh the connectivity, restart the ESXi/ESX host management agents. For more information, see Restarting the Management agents on an ESXi or ESX host (1003490).
Note: There may be occasions where using the Consolidate option does not work. A snapshot configuration file (with the
extension) in the virtual machine directory may interfere with
consolidation of the snapshots, and it may be necessary to rename it,
move it to a new location, or delete it and retry the consolidation. In the event consolidation completes but the VM is still running on snapshots as indicated in the VM>Edit Settings>Disk pane, shut down the VM, then try the DeleteAll method described in Consolidating snapshots (1007849), involving taking a snapshot, then using DeleteAll in the snapshot manager (VM->Snapshot->Take a Snapshot, followed by VM>Snapshot>Snapshot Manager>Delete All).
- For more information about Snapshot Consolidation, see Delete all Snapshots and Consolidate Snapshots feature FAQ (1023657).
- For more information about the files with .vmsd extension, see Understanding virtual machine snapshots in VMware ESXi and ESX (1015180) in the How do snapshots work? and Creating a snapshot sections.