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The 2nd 99% – tracking VMware snapshot removal progress

“The first 99% of the project flies by. But the 2nd 99%! Sheesh…” – anonymous

If you ever removed a snapshot in VMware ESX / ESXi, you’re presented with the ubiquitous progress meter. It chunks right along, increasing by 5% every so often. Encouraging.

And then it gets to the dreaded 99%. You’d think you’re almost home.

This would make you think you’re almost done. Wrong!

But you’re probably nowhere close.

This is really kind of dangerous. I’ve been tempted to assume that something is hung up. And that leads to thinking a hard reset of the host is required.

How CAN you see the progress? What follows is not an elegant solution, but you’ll at least be able to see what’s going on.

First, you’ll need to go to the ESXi command line (see other posts on the internet for accessing ESXi via SSH.) In this case, I used PuTTY ( http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html ) to get to the host IP and command line.

Go to the storage directory of the host, usually /vmfs/volumes, then the LUN directory and finally the VM directory.

Use the following linux command to list the files in time order, latest files last:

ls -ltr

This will show you what files have been most recently processed. Repeat this command over time (remember up-arrow to repeat bash commands) and you should notice a progression, disk files progress from lowest to highest, and within a disk, the delta files progress highest to lowes.

For example, if you have a VM called Server with 3 disks, they would be called

Server-flat.vmdk
Server_1-flat.vmdk
Server_2.flat.vmdk

And you’d see that they’d progress (latest file change time) in that order.  The delta files, created by snapshots, have 6 digit sequence numbers in their names that would progress in reverse order.

Server_1-000005-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000004-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000003-delta.vmdk
Server_1-000002-delta.vmdk
etc.

Not very exciting, true. But at least you can see some progress. I recently removed a snapshot that took 2:40 hrs. It was up to 99% in about :15 of that.

  1. June 19th, 2014 at 04:30 | #1

    Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

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