We’ve had quite a few posts about Hyper-V checkpoints lately (formerly snapshots). We also spend a fair bit of time warning people not to tinker with them manually. There are still those people that are going to tinker despite any warnings, and there will always be those people who don’t even find the warnings until they’re too late to be of any value. The least I can do is provide a tool that can be of use to anyone that’s stuck working on a complicated tree of differencing disks.
Checkpoints (known as “Snapshots” in previous versions), provide something similar to an “Undo” capability to Hyper-V virtual machines. With a Hyper-V checkpoint, everything about a virtual machine is captured in a checkpoint; the disk contents to be sure, but also the state of memory and active CPU threads, the hardware configuration, the condition of Integration Services, etc. Essentially, anything captured by any of the virtual machine’s files is perfectly preserved at the aptly named “checkpoint”.
Like any creative work, a blog post is never really done; it’s just abandoned. Unlike many other mediums, blogs do allow us to easily refresh those older articles, but we so rarely ever do it. To close out this year, a few of us on the editorial team got together and selected a few highlights from the past year. Our 14 selections from 2014 (in no particular order): Hyper-V Guest Licensing This was our first licensing article directly related to guest licensing. We followed it up with a downloadable eBook that was expanded to include a number of examples, and Andy Syrewicze and Thomas Maurer gave a fantastic webinar on the topic. We’ve received quite a few questions and some great feedback. Keep an eye out for a follow-up post that takes on some of those questions and incorporates some of the suggestions. If you’ve got questions or suggestions of… Read More»
If you’ve had very much virtual machine churn in your environment, it’s almost inevitable that you’ve wound up with a few disconnected virtual machine files here and there. This free script will help you to locate orphaned Hyper-V VM files. For fellow infrastructure scripters, there is a special bonus script included as well. The worst thing about my testing environment is that I often wind up with files that look legitimate, but are no longer part of any virtual machine. Even in live environments, some virtual machine moves and operations leave a trail of unwanted files. Errors and failures can produce more. Finding virtual machine files isn’t hard, but ensuring that they’re not really attached to something can be much more difficult than it might at first seem. I tried very hard to include a great many features to cover every scenario I could think of. Last Updated: April… Read More»
In the first part of this series I walked through using the Hyper-V Manager to create a new virtual machine from a snapshot. If this is something you only need to do occasionally, there is no reason not to use a graphical tool. But if you find yourself doing this often, or would like a way to automate the process for the sake of efficiency, then you’ll need to turn to Windows PowerShell.
Without a doubt Hyper-V snapshots can be quite useful. They make software and systems testing a little less stressful because you know you can roll back any changes. They can provide a “quick and dirty“ backup solution. Or you can use them as starting points for new virtual machines.
When designing any IT solution, many administrators often consider “Backup” to be little more than another box on a long list of items to check off. They verify that the software and hardware they’re using will handle the load, configure it to back up on a reasonable schedule, and forget about it. Some will take the extra step of restoring some data to an alternate location as a test. Hardly any go through the full exercise of simulating an actual catastrophe. Most of the time, this practice is completely harmless. Unfortunately, if disaster does strike, there are often more questions than answers. Planning ahead is critical, and that involves knowing what sort of backup you need and if your backup application can provide it. NOTE: This is the first blog post in a 2-series post. You can read the second post in this series here. Consistency Definitions To determine… Read More»
Hyper-V Snapshots (called “Checkpoints” in System Center Virtual Machine Manager, as they were called in Virtual Server), are a tool used best for short-term testing on virtual machines. They are absolutely not intended as a replacement for a proper backup.