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Changing the location of snapshot delta files for virtual machines in ESXi 5.x (2007563)

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Purpose

The Storage vMotion process was improved with these features with the introduction of VMware ESXi 5.0:
  • Virtual machines can be migrated to a new datastore while running on snapshots.
  • Linked clone virtual machines are supported with Storage vMotion.
For more information, see the VMware blog post vSphere 5.0 Storage Features Part 2 - Storage vMotion.

To facilitate these improvements to Storage vMotion and the new Storage DRS feature, a change to the snapshot process was introduced with ESXi 5.0. With previous versions of ESXi/ESX, the delta disks were stored in the directory specified by the workingDir parameter. This was typically the same directory as the configuration files for the virtual machine, but this is changed by updating the workingDir parameter. The workingDir parameter still exists but now it only affects the placement of the snapshot .vmsn file. To revert to the pre-ESXi 5.0 way of storing snapshots in the directory specified by the workingDir parameter, the new snapshot.redoNotWithParent parameter is added to the virtual machine's configuration(.vmx) file.

Resolution

Note: This procedure is used in conjunction with the workingDir parameter. For more information on changing the workingDir parameter, see Creating snapshots in a different location than default virtual machine directory (1002929)

To configure the snapshot delta files to be kept in the same directory as the location specified in the workingDir parameter, add the new parameter snapshot.redoNotWithParent to the virtual machine configuration file(.vmx).

To set the snapshot.redoNotWithParent parameter:
  1. Power off the virtual machine and to commit any existing snapshots, see Consolidating snapshots in vSphere 5.x (2003638).
  2. Right-click the virtual machine and click Edit Settings.
  3. Click the Options tab.
  4. In the Advanced Options, click General.
  5. Click Configuration Parameters.
  6. Click Add Row.
  7. In the Name field, type snapshot.redoNotWithParent.
  8. In the Value field, type true.
  9. Click OK to save the configuration parameters.
  10. Click OK to save the virtual machine settings.
  11. Power on the virtual machine.
Note: This can also be achieved by editing the .vmx configuration file of the Virtual Machine. For details, see Creating snapshots in a different location than default virtual machine directory (1002929)

Important details to keep in mind when working with virtual machine snapshots and Storage vMotion in vSphere 5.x:
  • If you have a virtual machine running on snapshots and you move a virtual disk from one datastore to another, its associated snapshot files are moved with the virtual disk to the new datastore (even if they were initially created in the working directory). Newly created snapshots are created in the working directory again(as per the advanced setting).
  • If you move virtual machine configuration files to another datastore, the related snapshot files do not move. They remain on the original datastore.
  • For more information see the VMware blog post Storage vMotion, Storage DRS & Virtual Machine Snapshots Interoperability.

See Also

Update History

12/07/2011 - Clarified drawbacks of this method and added link to VMware blog post. 07/10/2012 - Added location of working directory in ESXi 5.0

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