VSSI Operator Role

Document version

Release 1.0 (working draft)
Date 2013/07/04

See also EDMS 1264735. Document version may differ.


You may need check the VSSI Centralized General Glossary.

Project’s introduction, virtualization and VMware vSphere Infrastructure

For a general introduction, check the initial “VSSI Technical Specification” (EDMS 1198039) and also the “VSSI VMware vCenter Infrastructure” page.

Notes about VMware vSphere Client v. 5 for VSSI Operators role

An important detail is that the users of this role only could see the allowed virtual machines.

What can a VSSI Operator do

This role could do certain tasks, like the included in the following sections.

Diagnose problems and see events

Triggered Alarm

To see the alarms of some virtual machine (or host) running in the cluster, this inventory element should be selected. After this, the tab “Alarms” and “Triggered Alarms” button (see highlighted areas).


When a triggered alarm is detected, it will appear as shown in the next picture (see highlighted area).


The triggered alarms could be seen (and defined) in the same tab, but pressing the “Definitions” button (highlighted area):


This alarms definition could include several options, for example, one to send an e-mail when it is triggered. A user with full administrative privileges should define this action (other user roles are not allowed to do that).

Tasks and Events

The task and Events are elements showing the normal running of the system (it could include event or task errors, but not triggered alarms).

To see the tasks and events of a VM (or host), this inventory element should be selected, and after this, the tab “Task & Events” (highlighted area). Here, we have a button to see the tasks


And other button to see the events (highlighted area):


Also, as it could be seen, the recent tasks could be sawn in the “Status bar” at the button area (it could be enabled or disabled in the “View” menu of the menu bar).

Change power status of a VMs

A virtual machine could be powered on, powered off, restarted or suspended in many different ways.

From the “Getting Started” tab, in the highlighted area you can see the option to turn it on:


If the VM is already running, the options are going to be different:


From the right-click options menu (is the same menu that we could find in the “Administration” menu of the menu bar):


From the “Summary” tab, in the “Commands” area:


If the VM is running, we can find more options, as it could be seen in next screenshot):


Or from the toolbar (the shutdown/suspend/reset options of this menu require to have the VMware Tools installed):


Working with Snapshots

A virtual machine snapshot is a file-based representation of the state of a virtual machine at a given time. The snapshot includes configuration, disk data and, if the VM is running, a RAM copy. Snapshots are useful for storing states that an administrator might want to return to repeatedly [2].

When Snapshots should be used

A snapshot preserves the state and data of a virtual machine at a specific point in time [3]:

  • The state includes the virtual machine’s power state (for example, powered-on, powered-off, and suspended).
  • The data includes all of the files that make up the virtual machine. This includes disks, volatile memory, and other devices, such as virtual network interface cards.
An important question is that snapshots are not backups, a snapshot is a temporally solution to recover a previous and recent state [4].
Snapshots are change-logs of the original vdisks, so, they are not complete copies of the original vmdk disk files. So, they could not be used as a real backup. Also, delta files could grow up a lot in local datastore space and the snapshot consolidation takes a lot of time and resources.
A single snapshot should not be used for more than 24-72 hours, so, it will prevent issues with the original vdisks when they are deleted/committed.
Also, according VMware, an excessive number of/too big sized deltas may cause a VM and host performance depletion.
Also, more issues could be detected due to possible network configuration/domain changes.

How to work with Snapshots

Take Manual Snapshots

A snapshot of a VM could be done in any state (running, shutdown, paused). The process to take a snapshot is the following:

  • Select the VM with the right-click and in the following menu, in the “Snapshot” section, choose “Take Snapshot”.

  • Give an understandable name. I suggest use first the date in ISO format (YYYY/MM/DD), which is easy to help sorting.

  • This is going to produce a task, which could be seen (see previous sections)

Snapshots Management

We could manage manually these snapshots, using the snapshot manager, which could be accessed using the same right-click menu, choosing “Snapshot Manager”.


The operations that we could do here are:

  • Restore a snapshot (“Go to” button), leaving our VM exactly in the state saved in the snapshot.
  • Delete a snapshot (“Delete” button)
  • Delete all snapshots (“Delete all” button”)
  • Edit the information of a snapshot (“Edit” button)

Other way to revert to the last snapshot:


After this, the state of the VM (remember, but not the environment) is going to be the same than when the snapshot was taken.

Citations and References

  1. “Snapshot (computer storage)” (Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapshot_(computer_storage) [last access on 2013-01-28]
  2. “virtual machine snapshot” (Tech Target Website) http://searchenterprisedesktop.techtarget.com/definition/virtual-machine-snapshot [last access on 2013-01-29]
  3. “Understanding virtual machine snapshots in VMware ESXi and ESX” KB: 1015180 (VMware Knowledge Base) http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1015180 [last access on 2013-01-29]
  4. “Best practices for virtual machine snapshots in the VMware environment” KB: 1025279 (VMware Knowledge Base) http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1025279 [version of 2013-03-19; last access on 2013-04-18]
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Topic revision: r4 - 2013-07-04 - BreoCosta
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