Snapshots preserve the current state of a virtual machine so that you can return to the state as needed. You can use snapshots as restoration points when you install update packages or different versions of a program.

A snapshot includes:

Memory state

Contents of the virtual machine's memory.

Settings state

Virtual machine settings.

Disk state

State of all the virtual machine's virtual disks.

When you revert to a snapshot, you return these items to the state that they were in at the time you took that snapshot. Snapshots operate on individual virtual machines.

Snapshots let you revert repeatedly to the same state without creating multiple virtual machines. With snapshots, you create backup and restore positions in a linear process. You can also preserve a baseline before diverging a virtual machine in a process tree.

You can take more than one snapshot of the same virtual machine. Using multiple snapshots, you can save different states for different work processes. You can take snapshots to 32 levels, but each level increases the time it takes to save or delete a snapshot. The amount of time depends on the amount of data and the RAM size of the virtual machine.


Snapshots are not available in versions before ESX 3.0. Snapshots of raw disks or RDM physical mode disks are not supported.