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VMWare Workstation snapshot feature is great! However, sometime I need to develop more complex scenarios, where several virtual machines are involved. For example, a web server and an SQL server, both located on seperate virtual machines. It is desirable to take snapshot of the whole "environment" (i.e. both machines) as an atomic operation, not only one machine at the time (which may cause inconsistency).

Is this possible in the new version 7? What is the correct solution to this problem?


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I believe the only way to guarantee your snapshots are valid against each other, is to shut both guests down, take the snapshots, then power both VMs back on again.

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I do this all the time for MSCS clusters on ESX server and I'm sure the same basic trick could be applied to VMware Workstation.

On ESX I'm using a NetApp SAN/NAS and I use the NetApp snapshot tools to take a snapshot of the volume that VMs in question are on. Then I'll do my test and power the VMs down again and revert back to the prior NetApp snapshot.

You could use a free product such as OpenFiler that supports point in time snapshots and do the same. OpenFiler runs as a VM.

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This is an OK approach but you are relying on the Guest's quiescing their internal file IO activity consistently across machines. It might work, possibly does most of the time, but it might not and unless you have some process coordinating things across multiple servers it could fail badly. – Helvick Feb 22 '10 at 0:11
What I didn't make clear was as long as you power the VMs down it works. I certainly wouldn't recommend trying this approach with VMs that are online. NetApp do have tools to make it work while VMs are live (SMVI/VIBE) but those tools are specific to NetApp filers. – Ausmith1 Feb 22 '10 at 21:02

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