Stop The Pain With Broken VMware Snapshots with Opvizor Snapwatcher

Most of us have dealt with some issues when utilizing VMware’s integrated vCenter Snapshots. Most of the time they work but now and then they start to fail or become invalid/inconsistent. This seem to happen more often if you keep a larger amount of snapshots.

Opvizor, a company founded in Austria, has just launched a free product to help VMware administrators detect broken snapshots hiding in their virtual environment. The product is called Snapwatcher and will be released as a free beta to the public today.

Based on a study by Opvizor, ~81% of all VMware vSphere environments are affected by broken snapshots. Oftentimes invalid snapshots occur without the administrators knowledge, when backup solutions prompt snapshot creation and deletion. If VMware cannot delete a snapshot, an invalid snapshot is created. A single delta-file can grow up to the same size as the original VMDK, which can take up terabytes of your expensive storage.



The above image shows a screenshot of Snapwatcher Beta. It provides a quick an easy overview of your snapshots within your vSphere environment. It will highlight the largest snapshots and overall snapshots can be sorted by name, host and Virtual Machine. The work history allows you to see how many snapshots have been fixed and how much space was recovered.

My favorite part is, you can set rules which will automatically color-highlight snapshots based on pre-defined conditions.
For example, if a certain usage on a datastore has been reached or if a snapshot reaches a certain size, the right snapshot can easily be highlighted. This makes every VMware admin’s live much easier. Who doesn’t want to start his day with a quick overview of his snapshots and make sure that everything is healthy? And even if something is broken, Snapwatcher allows you to quickly fix it.

Currently, Snapwatcher can fix:

  • Inconsistency between snapshots and VMware snapshot manager
  • Most lock related snapshot failures
  • Unlock files as required (detects the MAC of the host and remotely unlocks the file from the locking host)

Note: Snapwatcher can even figure out if a backup software is still running. This ensures that not all lock files will be unlocked.

During a quick presentation by Dennis Zimmer and Atif Siddiqui, they mentioned some very interesting details about data points and how they have been able to help customers:

  • Collected ~66.5 trillion data points
  • Millions of virtual machines are monitored
  • Hundred thousands of VMware vSphere hosts are monitored
  • One of there customers was able to recover 16 TB from invalid and inconsistent snapshots. Seriously, this customer must have been the happiest in the world after getting 16 TB back.




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