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I'm planning on upgrading my environment to vmware 5.1 soon and was wondering if anyone here might know anything regarding snapshots taken prior to the upgrade:

  1. Will I need to take a snap shot after all VMs are updated and start using my VMs from that as a new starting point?

  2. If some of my VMs have a couple snapshots already taken on them and I have to revert at some point in time to an older snapshot that was taken prior to upgrading to 5.1, how does that affect the VM?

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3 Answers 3

Consolidate the snapshots to ease your migration and upgrade processes. There's no reason to keep old VM snapshots around. It's inefficient and a poor form of backup. If you don't consolidate them, your upgrade will still work, but you'll be missing out on features available to the virtual hardware version (vmx-09 with ESXi 5.1). I'm not certain that virtual hardware can be upgraded when there's an outstanding snapshot.

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Will I need to take a snap shot after all VMs are updated and start using my VMs from that as a new starting point?

You shouldn't be keeping snapshots around indefinitely. There is a considerable disk performance hit when using snapshots and also, the larger they get the greater the chance of a failed merge down the road. They're meant for short-term use.

If some of my VMs have a couple snapshots already taken on them and I have to revert at some point in time to an older snapshot that was taken prior to upgrading to 5.1, how does that affect the VM?

It shouldn't matter. Your older snapshots should work fine. But, like I said before, you shouldn't keep old snapshots around indefinitely.


It sounds like you're using snapshots in place of backups. Don't do that. Snapshots are a complimentary technology to a backup and also allow for neat things like vSphere-based SRM replication. They're not a substitute for a backup.

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I'm doing an upgrade this way:

  • take a snapshot
  • upgrading vmware tools (be sure to reboot the vm; not only shutdown)
  • shutdown vm
  • take a snapshot
  • upgrade vm hardware to version 9
  • power on the machine
  • check if everything is correct
    • if something goes wrong you can go back (revert the snapshot)
  • delete both snapshots

Sometime ago I've read it is not possible to undo a vHardware upgrade with a snapshot. I've tested it on esxi upgrade 4->5 without problems. It should be the same while upgrading to 5.1.

Snapshots are not a long term solution. If you have old snapshots, it could cause performance issues on the vm if you delete newer snapshots.

Before you upgrade, you should check your backup (as always) ;)

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