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I'm currently using a VM running on ESXi 5.0 to dry-run installation procedures for a software product. We're trying a whole different bunch of things, so I'm making extensive use of snapshots to save my place at various points.

Now, I know a thing or two about snapshots, and I know that they're essentially deltas against the base VMDK, and over time that situation can get problematic. I'm okay with the snapshots in this specific case, since the snapshots (and the VM itself) aren't for long-term use. The VM itself is going to get blown away once we're done with the procedures.

So here's where my question actually comes in. It's more of a thought experiment, so bear with me. If I were to export an OVF backup of the VM, would I expect problems because it's got snapshot data? I'm in the habit of making sure the disk is fully consolidated with no snapshots, but I'd like to know if there's a purpose to that practice.

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snapshots over time makes performance problematic, so what you are doing is definitely a good thing. it is generally advisable not to use snapshot for any long-term solution of anything (more than a week or 2). however, ovf creation of vms with snapshots did not cause problem for me when i tried it and i have not found any documents that says snapshots would adversely affect the ovf export. still, i have been like you, clean up snapshots whenever i can and whenever i need to use vm for something such as export.

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just read this citrix article about removing snapshot before exporting ovf: support.citrix.com/article/CTX116603 –  johnshen64 May 17 '12 at 22:29
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