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According VSS best practices (based on VMware best practices), the maximum


lifetime for a VM snapshot should be 72 hours.

Snapshots are NOT backups

A virtual machine snapshot is not a copy so it cannot be treated as a direct backup. A snapshot file is simply a log of changes to the original virtual disk. The virtual machine is running on the most current snapshot, not the original vmdk disk files. To reiterate: snapshots are not copies of the VM's original vmdk disk files. Taking a snapshot does not create a complete copy of the original vmdk disk file, rather it only copies the delta disks.


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Side effects of running with snapshots

  • Decreased performance if there are too many delta files in a chain (caused by having too many snapshots).

  • Decreased performance if delta files become too large.

  • Cannot increase Virtual Disk size while snapshots are active.

  • Delta files can grow to the same size as the original base disk file: a virtual machine's provisioned storage size can grow to ( its original size ) multiplied by ( the number of snapshots ).

Requesting a Snapshot

To request a snapshot for your VM, please use one of the following methods:

Reverting to a Snapshot

To revert a VM to (or from) a specific snapshot, please use one of the following options:

Deleting a Snapshot

To delete a snapshot for your VM, please use one of the following methods:

Consolidate Disks 

To consolidate VM disks, please use one of the following options:

Recommended Reading

  • Understanding virtual machine snapshots in vSphere (VMware KB Article 1015180)

  • Best practices for virtual machine snapshots in the VMware environment (VMware KB Article 1025279)

  • How to consolidate disk snapshots (VMware KB article 2003638)
     vSphere client: right click on the VM name, go to "Snapshots", choose "Consolidate".
     vSphere Web client: click "Actions" tab, go to "All vCenter Actions", go to "Snapshots", choose "Consolidate".