There are various tricks and hints we all use to make our daily system administration routines easier. One of them is virtual machine cloning provided by VMware vCenter Server. Great and simple thing allowing you to deploy many identical virtual machines to a group – no need to repeat the same process all over again. This is usually done in vCenter but there are several other ways you can go if it becomes unavailable.
Lately, I often face people who prefer using snapshots, wrongly thinking that they can serve as an alternative to a proper backup infrastructure. This comes from a misunderstanding of snapshots’ real functions. So, I’ve decided to sort things out in this post and describe some basic operations you can do with snapshots in VMware and Hyper-V environments.
The term “snapshot” refers to the absolute copy of the particular VM’s state that allows you to roll back to it whenever you want. You can always take a snapshot of the VM, be it running or switched off. Though, if you capture a running VM, its disk activity gets suspended (for a matter of seconds but still…).
So, what’s the main point of taking snapshots?