By Crystal / Last Updated September 5, 2022

Schedule VMware snapshot to save your effort

VMware snapshot records the state and data of a virtual machine at a given point in time. The snapshot file is only a copy of the original virtual disk, it creates a place holder disk, virtual_machine-00000x-delta.vmdk, to store data changes since the time the snapshot was created. With it, you can roll a virtual machine back quickly when a failure or system error occurs, which is especially useful in a testing environment.

However, it's a pain to take every snapshot manually. Imagine you have multiple VMs with frequent data changes - just taking snapshots of them one by one can take a lot of time and effort. Therefore, you may want to schedule VMware snapshot to capture the state of  the virtual machine in time automatically.

To do this, you can first use PowerShell, PowerCLI, or the guest OS's built-in scheduler to save yourself the trouble. But if you want to do this through a simpler and easier-to-understand GUI, vCenter Server's task scheduling feature is probably the most straightforward option.

In this article, you will learn how to create a scheduled snapshot task via vCenter in vSphere Web Client.

VMware

How to schedule VMware snapshot (step-by-step)

Is there a convenient way to create a scheduled snapshot task for VMware virtual machines? Yes, you can simply schedule snapshot in vSphere Web Client or vSphere Client by using vCenter scheduled tasks feature, and the whole process is similar. 

This part explains how to create automatic scheduled snapshots step by step.

Note: If you create a scheduled snapshot task, you should keep monitoring the VMware snapshot size to avoid poor performance of VM.

Steps to schedule snapshot in vSphere Web Client

1. To use vCenter schedule snapshot, you can first login vCenter Server using the vSphere Web client, then navigate to the object for which you want to schedule a task.

2. Select Monitor Tasks & Events > Scheduled Tasks > Schedule a New Task.

schedule a new task

3. From the Schedule New Task drop-down list, select Take Snapshot...

take snapshot

4. In the Edit Setting page, type a name and add a description for the task.

add description

5. In the Scheduling options page, configure the required settings for the task.

  • To configure the scheduling settings for the task, click Change next to Configured Scheduler.

scheduling option

  • The most important settings in the snapshot scheduling process are in the Change menu. There, you can set when and how often operations are performed.

configure scheduler

  • After setting up the date, press OK to finish this step.

6. Enter the email addresses to receive an email notification which is optional and press OK when you finish all settings.

add email

7. The task is displayed on the Scheduled Task List if you schedule snapshots successfully.

scheduled task list

This is how to create vCenter 6.7 scheduled tasks. For the 3 buttons on the right of the Schedule a New Task, the green logo is Run Button which means the scheduled task is executed once you click it. The yellow logo is for Editing the scheduled task. The red logo is to Remove the task.

How to reschedule VMware snapshot

We usually set the time and frequency of snapshots according to the needs of work, so it requires that we have to modify the scheduled plan timely.

Please refer to the following steps to change the original scheduled task.

1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the object for which you want to edit a scheduled task.

2. Select Manage > Scheduled Tasks.

3. Right-click the task and select Edit.

4. Change the task attributes as necessary.

5. Click OK.

How to remove a scheduled task in VMware

When the original scheduled snapshot task is no longer needed. Removing the task is necessary.

1. In the vSphere Web Client, navigate to the object for which you want to remove a scheduled task.

2. Select Manage > Scheduled Tasks.

3. Right-click the task and select Remove.

Caution: scheduled snapshot ≠ backup

Snapshot and backup are different from each other, and scheduled VMware snapshot cannot be used as one of the common methods of backup for the following reasons:

1. One VM requires one separate scheduled task. If you own a wide range of VMs, it is complicated to create and manage snapshot tasks.

2. Do not use a single snapshot for more than 72 hours.

3. A maximum of 32 snapshots are supported in a chain. However, for a better VM performance, only use 2 to 3 snapshots.

create snapshots

When you take a snapshot, the state of the virtual disk is preserved. The guest operating system stops writing to it, and a delta or child disk is created. Large amounts of data are subsequently recorded into child disk, and the snapshots size in production environment can run out of memory and cause insufficient memory errors, which can affect performance of VM.

Seamlessly protect VMs with scheduled VMware backup (free)

A scheduled backup is more secure for VM data protection than a scheduled snapshot in VMware. So this part introduces an easy-to-use tool to schedule virtual machine backup.

AOMEI Cyber Backup is a free VMware backup program to run automatic VM backups securely. It offers flexible backup strategies to protect VM data seamlessly and  backup VMs to different places to fulfill the 3-2-1 backup rule. With its retention policy, you can also save a lot of costs on storage.

Auto Backup: Easily create flexible schedule run VM backups automatically every day, every week, or every month.
Agentless Backup: Backup multiple VMs at host-level without installing agent on each VM, and use the centralized console to simplify the VM management.
Restore from Any Point: With scheduled backups in hand, you can easily restore VMs to any backed up version.
Perpetual Free: You can always use this free edition with no time limit.

Simple steps to back up VM using AOMEI Cyber Backup:

1. Access to AOMEI Cyber Backup and add the device for backup.

Download FreewareVMware ESXi & Hyper-V
Secure Download

*You can choose to install this VM backup software on either Windows or Linux system.

2. Click Backup Task >> Add New Task to create the complete and secure backup task.

create VMware backup

  • In the configuration page, enter a name for the task and select the backup type as VMware ESXi or Hyper-V. Then select the virtual machines you want to back up. Click OK.

Note: It is possible to schedule backup tasks of multiple VMs at the same time.

select virtual machines

  • Select the Backup Target to store the backups, such as local path or network path.

backup destination

  • Schedule backup with flexible strategies (full / incremental / differential backup) and set up a data from daily / weekly / monthly (by date) / monthly (by week).

schedule backup

  • Set up Backup Cleanup*(optional function that requires Premium Edition)select the retention period for backup. It helps to save storage for deleting the useless and old backup files automatically.

backup cleanup

  • Click Start Backup. You can monitor the whole backup process. Meanwhile, after backup, the recovery is rather secure once unpredictable events happen to your original VM.

backup completed

3. Click Restore to recover a virtual machine from any point. It’s more secure to restore entire VM from the backups than snapshots.

restore VM from any backup

AOMEI Cyber Backup provides a secure recovery solutions of VMware virtual machines. It will continuously prevent your business data from threats. You can benefit from the reliable data protection strategy in the scenario of software-testing or disaster recovery.

Summary

This article introduced how to schedule VMware snapshots via vSphere Web Client and what we need to pay attention to while using it as backup.

As we know, snapshot cannot replace backup. For VMware data security, you’d better choose reliable VMware backup solution instead of snapshot.