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Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Last updated: Aug 26, 2021

How to work with VMware snapshot: best practices

Here you will find out:

  • what are VMware snapshots
  • tips of correct VMware snapshots usage
  • when DiskInternals can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

Why VMware snapshots are so popular

partition recovery

VMware snapshots are widely used by developers, administrators, and other IT professionals who are not always VMware specialists. Interestingly, all of them can create snapshots, but not all can delete them. Thus, the VM can become cluttered with snapshots, with a possible subsequent decrease in performance. Of course, returning a VM to a specific point in time using snapshots is good, but you need to do it wisely. That is why this article describes all the nuances of creating and deleting snapshots, as well as best practices for VMware vSphere snapshots.

How to work with snapshots

Tip 1: Don’t use snapshots as backups

Snapshots aren’t backups. They should not be used as such under any circumstances, even if you really want to!

First, the snapshot file is only a change log of the original virtual disk; if the basic disks are removed, the snapshot files will not be enough to fully restore the virtual machine.

Second, you can save a maximum of 32 snapshots; the more there are, the lower the VM performance is. Therefore, it is best to use only 2-3 snapshots.

Third, if a snapshot is used for more than 72 hours, then the snapshot files will continue to grow as the virtual machine is used. Thus, free space will quickly run out and this will also affect performance.

Fourth, since snapshots and files of the virtual machine are stored in the same folder, the slightest incorrect action can lead to the suspension of the VM. Therefore, the backup must always be in a different, remote location.

Tip 2: Check that snapshots were deleted

If special applications are used for backup, then after using them you need to check that snapshots are deleted immediately. If they are not, free space will quickly be consumed by new snapshots.

Tip 3: Don’t keep snapshots for too long

As mentioned above, the maximum storage time for snapshots is 72 hours, as they are used only for fault tolerance and to display the state of virtual machines at a particular point in time.

Tip 4: Don’t have too many snapshots

In general, you can take up to 32 snapshots, but you should not have that many. Limit yourself to a couple of snapshots so as not to cause problems. In addition, if several specialists have the ability to take snapshots, then this must be coordinated so that the performance of the VM is not affected.

Tip 5: Have a snapshot policy

With a snapshot policy, you can streamline the creation and deletion of snapshots. This is because every specialist who signs the snapshot policy will have to strictly follow the rules for snapshot creation, retention, and deletion.

Tip 6: The 3-2-1 rule will save your data

The 3-2-1 rule must also be followed by company employees to reduce the risk of losing production data. That is, it is necessary to store "3" copies of production data on "2" different types of media, and at the same time store "1" copy outside the enterprise.

VMFS Recovery: a VMware backup solution

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery can recover any files from damaged and functional disks in VMFS format, even remotely. This is possible through quickly and correctly reading the VMware VMFS file system. The program has a built-in unique Recovery Wizard, a free preview of any found document in any form, and automatic recovery. This application supports multi-level folders as well as Unicode file names.

Here are the instructions for DiskInternals VMFS Recovery:

  • If necessary, start an SSH connection before using the app.
  • Download the app and after installation on your computer, run the Recovery Wizard (this usually happens automatically).
  • Open a remote or local drive for a full or quick scan (whichever you prefer).
  • After that, mount the VMDK file and open it to check the integrity of the files.
  • Next, buy a license in order to complete the recovery process. You will get full access to any recovered files as well as technical support throughout the year.

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