Tested: VMware snapshot management with Snapwatcher

To monitor and manage VMware Virtual Machine Snapshots Opvizor has released a tool called Snapwatcher.  As consultant I see often that admins don’t have an overview of all the snapshots that exists in their environment. The main concerns with Virtual Machine snapshots are:

  • Snapshots are created and forgot to remove
  • Snapshots can very quickly grow in size
  • Snapshots filling datastore space
  • Delta files may cause decreased Virtual Machine and host performance

In this review Opvizor Snapwatcher is tested. With the Snapwatcher tool it is possible to centrally monitoring and managing snapshots one on more more vCenter server environments.


The installation of Snapwatcher is simple. Before installing make sure the requirements are met:

  • Windows Installer 4.5
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (x86 and x64)
  • VMware vCenter 4.1 or higher

Download and  installation the Snapwatcher application.  The installation downloads the latest bits from opvizor.com and installs Snapwatcher.

1_InstallNew Update

Every time Snapwatcher is started it checks for the latest updates. So Snapwather is always up-t0-date.


The first configuration step is adding one or more vCenter Servers:

add vcenter

After adding the vCenter Server(s), thresholds on warning and error levels can be set, for example:

  • Size and age of the snapshot
  • Size and percentage of the datastore
  • Amount of snapshots for a Virtual Machine



The dashboard is divided in seperate windows. The screenshot below lists the dabboard with all the 5 windows:


Each window can be resized and re-ordered. The 5 windows displays the following information:

1. Overview of the 5 largest snapshots. The amount of snapshots displayed is configurable.

2. Snapshot Disk Waste History (GB). Displays how much disk space is wasted over a period of time.

3. Overview of all the snapshot. All the snapshots are listed with there status.  Snapshots can be sorted on VM or snapshot name, description, status, Size (GB) and created Date. Actions can performed against snapshots such as delete, fix it and exclude.

4. General overview information. Display information about the number of vCenters, ESXi servers, VMs, VMs with snapshots added, the total snapshots and snapshot size.

general info

5. Work History. Displays information about the deleted snapshots and sizes.


From the dashboard the following actions can be performed against snapshots:


Refresh: Refreshes the dashboard and perform an updated inventory of the snapshots.

Delete: Remove the snapshot from the VM.


Exclude: Snapshots can be excluded in the dashboard from displaying. This can be handy for template VM with snapshots or VMware Horizon View Linked Clones.

Fix It: Fix It repairs broken snapshots are snapshots that are not managed by the vCenter Server but are still getting used by the Virtual Machine. In the vSphere Web/Client this status is showed as “Virtual Machine disks consoldition is needed”. In Snapwatcher the status is invalid.

lx250 01 Snapshot


When the trail period (7 days) is expired it is still possible to use Snapwatcher. The following Enterprise Edition features will not work when the trail period is over:

  • Fix broken and inconsistent snapshots with our patent pending technology
  • Ignore certain VM snapshots
  • Track your VMware snapshot history


Opvizor Snapwatcher is a great tool for a VMware admin to centrally monitor and manage all the snapshots that exists in there VMware environment. Want to try Snapwatcher? Use this link.

After upgrading vSphere 4 to 5 the Fusion-IO card is in minimal mode

Last week I did a VMware vSphere and VMware View 4 to 5 upgrade.  The ESXi servers for the VMware View environment uses Fusion-IO (HP IO Accelerators) PCI flash cards for there non-persistent VDI pools. After the upgrade  to vSphere 5.1 I imported the latest Fusion-IO drivers and created a baseline in vSphere Update Manager (VUM) and deployed the new drivers to the cluster.

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After the installation of the Fusion-IO drivers on the ESXi hosts, the Fusion-IO card was not listed in the vSphere (Web) client. Via SSH I make a connection the the ESXi servers. When i run the fio-status command the following warning appeared:

Driver is in Minimal mode: The firmware on this device is not compatible with the currently installed version of the driver.

ACTIVE WARNINGS: The ioMemory is currently running in a minimal state.


The warning means that the firmware needs to be upgraded. I uploaded the firmware to a central datastore and run the following command:

fio-update-iodrive firmwarefilename.fff


When the firmware upgrade completed, the ESXi servers needed to restart.


After the rebootI checked the status with the fio-status command again.  The Fusion-IO card is out of minimal mode.



After the firmware upgrade the Fusion-IO card is listed again.

Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview as VM in VMware vSphere 5

Today the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is launched. To install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview as VM in VMware vSphere 5, use the following steps:

1. Install VMware ESXi 5.0 patch release ESXi500-201112001. If you didn’t install the patch the following screen appears when booting the Windows 8 ISO:


Your computer ran into a problem and needs to restart

2. When the patch is installed, create a new VM and choose the following settings:

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1. Choose custom 2. Enter VM Name
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3. Select datastore 4. Virtual Machine Version 8
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5. Choose Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit 6. Select the amount of processor and cores needed
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7. Enter memory 8. Select E1000 network adapter
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9. Select default SCSI controller 10. Create New disk
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11. Enter the desired disk size (default) 12 Select controller
13. Finish

3. Edit the VM configuration and change the following settings:

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Enable 3D graphics Choose the Windows 8 ISO to boot from
Select as guest OS “Microsoft Windows 8 Server (64-bit)”

4. Boot the VM and install Windows 8

Now you’re able to install Windows 8 as VM in VMware vSphere 5.


More information can be found here.


Updated: March 8 2012, Removed typos in blog.