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Recently I had an issue where a virtual machine had ran out of space and was suspended, a restart was able to to fix the issue but when I SSH'd in I noticed there were two large files (both delta.vmdk files) in datastore2/vm_in_question.

When I look at the snapshot manager in the VMware Console I see one snapshot from yesterday (Our VM backup tool created this one in order to perform a weekly backup which oddly enough is still running, this is another issue!) but this was a leaf node under two Consolidate Helper - 0 files.

I have never seen these before and was wondering if one of them at least was causing one of the large delta files?

Any information on how these files are created and what I can do to safely remove them and stop this from happening again would be greatly received.

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2 Answers 2

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The delta files are the snapshots. I've run into problems in the past where the script we used (ghettoVCB) wasn't deleting its snapshots sometimes. The way to remove the delta files (which you should do, it gets harder to remove them as they get bigger), is to delete all the snapshots on the VM. You backup script should remove the snapshots as soon as it's done - you should never leave snapshots on a VM.

Sometimes you get to the state where you can't see a snapshot in the manager, but there's still a delta file for it. In this case, taking a new snapshot, then doing a delete all command can often work. However, in the past I've been completely unable to get rid of a snapshot, and had to resort to imaging the VM to a new one, then deleting the old one from the disk with rm -rf.

Make sure your backups (internal ones, that get data), are working fine before you start messing around with cleaning up snapshots.

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If things are working on the VM correctly, I would stop the backup. Then take a new snapshot and then delete all. We used to have some issues with our backup software doing this and this usually solve them.

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