Category Archives: VI Toolkit 1.5

Set VMware Snapshot Location with Powershell

Snapshots are m*th3rfcukers. If you’re not careful, they will mass-murder your vms. Yet they allow you to time-travel! You want to use them, but how to prevent a massacre? Here’s how: relocate the delta files.

When you create a snapshot, the current state of the vm is preserved by leaving the disk files alone. All changes since the moment of creating the snapshot are written to delta files. The delta files are stored in the vm’s working directory. The working directory is – by default – the location where the vmx and other config files reside. If that datastore runs out of free space – especially if it also contains disk files – you’re in a bit of a kerfuffle. Vms not booting or being frozen as if they stared into Medusa’s reptoid eyes.

So you can do two things: reserve overhead in your datastores and stay afraid some overactive snapshot might destroy your environment, or set the working directory of your vms to some big-ass datastore you don’t use for anything else and let the snapshots enjoy themselves. If they fill up the datastore, they only kill all vms with snapshots, not the rest.

But how, you ask? You can edit the vmx files of you vms manually - which requires your vms to be powered down – and add the line: workingDir = “/vmfs/volumes/<insanely long guid you need to somehow find>/”

Or, you run my script and change the working location on the fly:

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VI Toolkit 1.5 Getting Started and Undocumented Functions

0. Installing
Installing or upgrading the VI Toolkit 1.5 is as easy as Next, Next, Finish. And using the new VI Toolkit shortcut on your desktop allows quick and easy access to the Toolkit. But what about running these cmdlets from your scripts or integrating it with other snapins? Read on!

1. Setting up your profile
The new desktop shortcut does two things for you: it starts powershell with the VI Toolkit snapin loaded and it runs a script which modified the look of the Powershell window ánd adds some cool extra functions. If you want to have the same functionality in your normal Powershell window and your scripts, you have to copy some stuff to your Powershell profile. First, set up your profile:

a. Start a normal Powershell window.
b. Run the following command: Test-Path $profile
c. Did it return True? Then you already have a profile file. Did it return False, do step d.
d. Create a profile file by running: New-Item $profile -ItemType File

2. Adding the snap-in
a. Open your profile by running: Invoke-Item $profile
b. Add the following line to the profile file to load the snap-in: Add-PSSnapIn VMware.VimAutomation.Core -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

3. Adding undocumented functions
a. Open the file C:\Program Files\VMware\Infrastructure\VIToolkitForWindows\Scripts\Initialize-VIToolkitEnvironment.ps1
b. Copy the following Function Blocks to your profile file: Get-VICommand, New-DatastoreDrive, New-VIInventoryDrive, Get-VIToolkitDocumentation, Get-VIToolkitCommunity

4. Undocumented Functions?
Ok, you can read about them in the Administrator’s Guide (http://www.vmware.com/support/developer/windowstoolkit/wintk10/doc/viwin_admin.pdf), but you might overlook these functions because they are not cmdlets, so Get-Command won’t show them (nor will Auto-Complete work for them).
Here’s a short description of each of them:

  • Get-VICommand: Displays all VI Toolkit cmdlets (equal to: Get-Command -PSSnapIn VMware.VimAutomation.Core);
  • New-DatastoreDrive: Allows you to browse a datastore like a drive (Example Usage: New-DatastoreDrive -Name <DriveName> -Datastore (Get-Datastore <DatastoreName>); Then jump to the drive: cd <DriveName>: );
  • New-VIInventoryDrive: Allows you to browse your Virtual Infrastructure like a drive (Example Usage: New-VIInventoryDrive -Name <DriveName> -Location (Get-Inventory <Folder-/Cluster-/ResourcePool-/HostName>); Then jump to drive: cd <DriveName>: );
  • Get-VIToolkitDocumentation: Opens the VI Toolkit Command Reference Help File;
  • Get-VIToolkitCommunity: Opens the VI Toolkit Community website.

More examples and scripts here soon!
Hugo