Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nimble Snapshots, is There ANYTHING They Can't Do?

Hi Friends,

Today I wanted to share how cool Nimble Snapshots are and how easy it is to restore your entire VMware test environment after you destroy it.  Not that I've destroyed my environment or anything...  <mumble mumble>

Hey, how about those Snapshots!  So say you're upgrading your environment and your boss wisely told you to take a snapshot before you start and for once you actually listened to him.  (Hi Mike!)  You'll be in luck because when everything explodes and you're left with a smoldering pile that used to be your test environment, you'll still have your pristine Nimble Snapshots!

Taking a snapshot is really easy, you just go to your volume and click on Take Snapshot.  Let's backup a bit...  This array is so darn easy to use that in the words of my friend Steve, they're going to replace me with a small shell script.  Just a reminder...  Whatever state your environment is in, that's what your snapshot will be.  So if this is a test environment, shut everything down on the datastore/volume you want to snapshot.  This way everything will be clean when you restore.  Now I know in a production environment you can't do that, so take a look at the Nimble site for in depth best practices on how to quiesce your apps while they're running.

Okay, so you've single handedly destroyed your environment and need to restore.  Head over to the Nimble GUI, select your volume, then click on the Snapshot tab.  Select your snapshot you made before you made the mess and click on Restore.

You'll get this warning that the volume is going to go offline.  Remember, everything attached to this volume is going to go offline and get reverted back, so make sure this is what you want to do!!


Remember to set the volume back online.  Not that I have any experience forgetting to do that...

Now, head on over to Virtual Center, and if Virtual Center was part of what was restored, go to the ESXi server that hosts Virtual Center.

You might notice that the virtual machines that are hosted on that datastore will have the little bubble by them and your datastore will most likely be listed as inactive.

If you see something like this you're in a weird state.  vCenter wants some more information about the virtual machines it's hosting and you can't get your datastore back until you address it's questions.

Click on each virtual machine and see what vCenter is concerned about.  Here vCenter is telling us that the storage is missing for this virtual machine.  It's a bit of a chicken or the egg situation here, so I find the best thing is to click Cancel so vCenter can get out of the loop looking for the storage for the virtual machine.

Once you do that, your machines names will probably change from their names to "Unknown".  That's okay, don't panic yet!  Click on the Rescan-All link so vCenter will re-discover the datastore.  Once your datastore comes back, your virtual machines will re-gain their names and you'll be ready good to go!

Until Next Time!

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