So we had some issues with our passive mail node over the weekend doing vmtools updates and to resolve a problem we had to revert to a snapshot and then reseed all the databases across. All in all everything seemed fine, the server works and CCR copy status is running fine. I used the "Delete All" option this morning to remove the snapshot and the process according to vCenter has completed with no errors and no "Needs Consolidation" flag. This all seems fine until I check the Datastore that holds the VM on our SAN and I can clearly see snapshots that are pretty big [see attached image]. These do not seem to be changing size and the data modified is around the time the works were started for the vmtools update. Does this possibly mean that at some stage, possibly during reversion or hard resetting of the VM, that they have become orphaned? Are there any methods to check orphaned status of snapshots?

We are running ESXi5.0 Update 1 with storage provide by an EMC SAN. Enterprise plus is the license level.

enter image description here


If the snapshot removal process completes successfully, are you taking the time to Refresh or Update the view? (the exact term depends on the page).

For locating snapshots (forgotten, mismanaged, orphaned or otherwise), I look at the Datastore View -> Storage Views of a cluster or datacenter object. The "Snapshot Space" column is the guide I use to identify active or orphaned snapshots.

enter image description here

  • ah, interesting view. not used this before. I am guessing that when I see that MX02 has a 44B snapshot space it means that the snapshot file I can see in the Datastore Browser is an orphaned snapshot? – Tim Alexander Dec 17 '12 at 14:06
  • @TimAlexander If the size is 44 or 45 Bytes, that's just the .vmsd descriptor file left over. If there were a real snapshot, you'd see a much larger space utilization. – ewwhite Dec 17 '12 at 14:20
  • Just read a community post on vmware about this as well. Found this KB (VMWareKB: 1005049) which suggest checking the Hardware Settings for the disk and seeing if they reference the snapshot file present in the VM directory. In this case they don't so am about to delete. Thanks for your help. – Tim Alexander Dec 17 '12 at 14:24
  • remove the files with no problems! finally have some space on the LUN. Thanks for the assistance – Tim Alexander Dec 17 '12 at 16:20

William Lam (a very well known and respected VMWare employee) writes a lot of custom scripts for helping sysadmins working with their products and one of them (Clicky) is a very useful full system vCenter health check script. Amongst the very many things it does is list all snapshots, and I think it will show up orphaned ones too. Not 100% certain this will definitely fix this problem but I wanted you to be aware of it.

  • 1
    thanks for this. Looks like something we can implement in light of this snapshot issue for future issues :) – Tim Alexander Dec 17 '12 at 14:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.