Understanding Snapshots on ESX4.1

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    So I’m fairly new to the topic of snapshots and really just want to figure out whether I am understanding this properly.

    I’ve done my homework and have read up quite a bit on snapshots. The general recommendation seems to be: Don’t run your VM off snapshots and if you do, don’t do it for very long.

    Well, that is kind of where my problem starts. I know what I WANT to do but I don’t know whether I’m doing it right.

    So, let’s start with the what I WANT to do:

    I’ve got a test / dev environment with 2 Win 2008 servers and 2 XP workstations that play together. This environment was created specifically for testing / playing purposes so what I want to do is to give access to whoever needs access and then when they are done with it revert all 4 machines to the working state I’ve prepared.

    How I WANT to do it:

    I have prepared all four servers to a working state. Ideally I would now snapshot all of them and call the snapshot “working state” or whatever. Then, every single time the environment is “handed back to me” I would revert to “working state”.

    This where the questions start.

    Obviously I am now in a position where I will be running off a snapshot full time (“working state”). If I understood correctly that would mean that a) performance is depreciated b) the snapshot will grow and grow.

    However, every single time I get the environment back, I will revert to said snapshot which in my mind is the same as dropping the incremental data meaning it shouldn’t grow indefinitely.
    I’ve also load tested the workstations and servers running off snapshots and am happy with the performance.

    So, what is this? Something that will work? That won’t break down the line because I’ve overlooked something? Blatantly a really bad idea?

    Any comments greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Martin

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