The watch command in the Service Console

UPDATE: Eric Siebert wrote an almost identical article here for techtarget. Since I don’t want people to think I just lift ideas from other blogs I would like to credit this article at the top. Although I have been using this procedure for nearly 2 years for snapshots. I would like to say I didn’t see his article before I posted mine. Next time I will do more googling. I try to keep this blog from regurgitating ideas that can be found elsewhere.

Do you ever have to commit gigantic snapshots that the vCenter client times out before it is finished. After the initial panic a while ago I learned the snapshots continue to delete even if the client times out. So how do you know what they are finished?
Answer ssh in the service console and look.

A ‘ls’ of a normal virtual machine:

A ‘ls’ of the vm with a snapshot:

Now a try - _watch -n 30 ‘ls -alh’ _
This will re-run the ls -alh command every 30 seconds.
In action:

Now if you VI Client times out you can leave this window running so you will know the snapshots are gone when the vmdk with the “delta” in the filename are gone.

Notice the additional delta files that appear. When deleting snapshots the vCenter will create a new delta file for changes that occur during the delete of the original delta. Then it deletes this new delta. I know I know an awesome video. I really like playing with Jing though.
The watch command can be used with an linux command you want to repeat over and over and over.

Written on February 19, 2009