How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshots instead of "differential"?

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How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshots instead of "differential"?

Postby gianluigi.zanettini » 28. Oct 2017, 11:39

I usually need to create many snapshots at different points in time. This makes a mess, because every snapshot is a child of the one before, and deleting any of them take HOURS. I'd rather create full/complete snapshots without any hierarchy tree ! Is it possible?
Last edited by gianluigi.zanettini on 28. Oct 2017, 15:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshot instead of "differential"?

Postby mpack » 28. Oct 2017, 13:48

There is no such thing as a "full snapshot". Differential images are inherent to what snapshots do.

The feature you probably want is called: making a backup copy, in which case you simply copy the current VM folder to secondary storage, then carry on as normal.

The temptation is to tell you about cloning, but you do NOT want to a make a clone VM. That would create a new VM for every instance, replacing your confusing snapshot hierarchy with a confusing VM hierarchy.
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshot instead of "differential"?

Postby gianluigi.zanettini » 28. Oct 2017, 15:49

Thanks mpack,
I was a NetApp Sales Specialist, so I know a thing or two about differential snapshots :P It's probably true that VirtualBox snapshots are differential only, but this is actually limited to VirtualBox. I would really like to see the ability to capture full snapshots in the future.

Yes, I could manually backup VMs, but this is clearly not ideal.

Thanks again for clarifying that, right now, snapshots are always differential.

I created a ticket for the feature.
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshots instead of "differential"?

Postby Perryg » 28. Oct 2017, 16:01

I would really like to see the ability to capture full snapshots in the future.

A full snapshot is the exact same thing as a backup or clone and as such each will be huge. Not to mention that the DEVs probably will not see any sense in this since you can achieve the exact same thing as it stands. But who knows, I for one would really hate this feature being added. I would not use it and the support would be a nightmare. Where did all of my disk space go??? will be the new rash of uninformed questions. Anyway just my 2 cents.
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshots instead of "differential"?

Postby ChipMcK » 28. Oct 2017, 16:02

gianluigi.zanettini wrote:but this is actually limited to VirtualBox

and in VMWare. Suspect same in Parallels.

Across all three products, SnapShots are differential. that is the definition of a SnapShot
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshot instead of "differential"?

Postby mpack » 28. Oct 2017, 16:15

gianluigi.zanettini wrote:It's probably true that VirtualBox snapshots are differential only, but this is actually limited to VirtualBox.

Um... Please name a competing VM platform which implements snapshots which are not differential?

Non-differential snapshots are redundant - if they don't share data then its basically just a list of separate VMs. And, as Perry points out, each new VM would occupy at least as much space as the previous stage in the timeline, with a great deal of waste and duplication.

The alternative to differential snapshots is not non-differential snapshots, it is ordinary backups to secondary media. That way the duplication is actually a plus (in fact it's the whole point of a backup), and they don't hog space on the main drive.

p.s. You really should not have bothered the devs with that ticket until you had finished the discussion here.
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Re: How to create full/complete VirtualBox snapshots instead of "differential"?

Postby socratis » 28. Oct 2017, 20:52

mpack wrote:The temptation is to tell you about cloning, but you do NOT want to a make a clone VM. That would create a new VM for every instance, replacing your confusing snapshot hierarchy with a confusing VM hierarchy.

Sure he wants to make a clone, why not? That's the easiest idea so far. Now, if he has activation problems or booting from Grub problems, that's another story. As for the hierarchy, let him have a go at it. It's a confused situation in any event. Either way, he's going to be confused.

If he wants to make a true copy, he wants essentially VirtualBox to replace his Explorer/Finder/Nautilus/command line/whatever... The thing that's missing from the understanding of how this works, it that he can't switch back and forth, because snapshots have different UUIDs, clones have different UUIDs, but copies don't. So he has to unregister a copy and register another one if that's going to happen. Too much work and potential trouble, for far too little a reward...
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