How to re-direct Hyper-V snapshots with Windows Server 2012

The virtual machine snapshot is one of the most versatile administrative tasks out there today. In this post, Rickatron shows how to select specific storage for virtual machine snapshots.

The virtual machine (VM) snapshot is one of the first features that totally hooked me on virtualization. It allowed me to quickly mark my spot to provide a repeatable environment for testing. I still use virtualization for testing today, as well as production.

The VM snapshot still plays a critical role for VM admins today with Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012. A snapshot (or checkpoint as it is called in System Center Virtual Machine Manager) is simply a point-in-time view of the VM to which the state can be rolled back, if needed. Think of it like playing a log file in reverse to go back in time to the VM.

By default, a VM created on Hyper-V will create the snapshot on a VM and put the associated snapshot files in a designated path on the C:\ drive. Should a lot of snapshots and VMs be in use, it may be worth ensuring that each Hyper-V VM has their associated snapshots on a designated location. This can be a larger volume or possibly a slower volume (with the thought being not to allocate premium storage for VM snapshots). Figure A below shows where the Hyper-V VM properties allow the configuration of the snapshot file location.

Figure A

Click to enlarge.

When a snapshot exists, a temporary path will be created in the selected path named \Snapshots and then an additional folder with a hexadecimal string will be created along with a number of temporary files (.BIN, .XML, .VSV and possibly more). Using snapshots is a great feature of virtualization, but be advised that they alone are not a backup of a VM. The source .VHD or .VHDX file integrity needs to be maintained for snapshots to be effective.

Do you redirect snapshots for Hyper-V VMs? If so, where do you put them and what is your logic? Share your comments below.