Snapshot support

Discussion in 'Feature Suggestions' started by furfurfur, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. This is probably an obvious one but snapshot support for guest virtual disks would be excellent. Is this a planned feature for parallels?
  2. Would be great

    Snapshort support would be really nice to have.

    I was wondering that parallels is the only "big" virtual machine software that lacks this feature ;-(
  3. If by snapshot, you mean the ability to save the VM state and later return to it, all you have to do is copy one (typically) file, whiich is a two click operation in the finder, so what's the big deal? What does snapshot do that wouldn't be achieved by simply copying the .hdd file(s)?
  4. While it is true that manually copying snapshots is one alternative, having the feature built in can be a huge productivity gain. I've used vmware for years on the PC for QA testing and troubleshooting, and having the ability to *quickly* revert to a known base state is a huge bonus.

    If you're only using Parallels for running a windows app here or there, this feature would be totally useless. But for those of us who use it for day-to-day development / testing tasks, it would be a great feature.

    Besides, this feature request represents "low hanging fruit", development-wise. For the marketing folks, it's one more bullet point on the feature list.

    My two cents', anyhow.
  5. there are 2 ways to achieve it.

    The easier way is to just include a simple GUI for users to store their "snapshots" just like they take the VM screen capture. But in the background, it still copy the whole image file.

    The 2nd way, which is the more challenging way, is to get it done through some configuration or special compressed format so that it won't take up just 1 additional size of the original image file as a snapshot "backup".

    I am not sure VMware is taking which path. I would also love to see this new features in the GUI, preferably the 2nd option. Therefore I dun need to educate my users the long instructions for backing up their VM images everytime they hit a critical point.
  6. This will not happen.

    You can clone the image, but you will not be able to do a snapshot, as this is covered by a patent that vmware owns. :( Just heard this on the Security Now podcast.
  7. .
    Make it slighty different, call it something other than snapshot, and patent problems dissapear.
  8. That might be true where you live, but in the USA, if it's patented (accepting that for the moment for the sake of argument) then it would be the process, not the name that was the subject of the patent, so it would have to be done differently to be non-infringing. The name may be the subject of copyright, but it's hard to enforce copyright on a natural language word, and since that word is just descriptive, and has been around in that context for a long time, it's doubtful copyright could be enforced.

    However, since taking a snapshot of a running system has been in the literature for decades, I have to wonder if it's patentable anyway.
  9. well, the only way to work around is to find another different process and patent it :) If it gets through, then no argument. can anybody find out what's the content of the vmware patent?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  10. .
    I think we're talking the same language.
  11. patent process is not a simple thing. It's very powerful to cover and protect the patent holder. There is no way to make it "slightly different" as any similarity will end up infringing of IP. It has to be a totally different process. That's why filing a seperate patent to achieve the same objective can prevent such thing happen.
  12. .
    Logical volume managers have had snapshot for some time now. Is it possible to patent an existing technology that has not actually been patented by anyone else?
  13. It's possible to apply for a patent for anything. If the examiners miss prior art, the patent might be granted, but if widespread prior art can be found, the patent won't stand up in court. A patent is only a license to sue. Patent law is so complex that you need a patent specialist (lawyer) to sort through it, and even then, court rulings are often a surprise.
  14. the only thing a patent holder can do, while his/her patent is granted due to examiner's fault, is to sue the local government who grant the patent :) So if you want to patent something similar to an existing patent, you shall be extra careful. yes, a patent specialist is a vital role for the application.
  15. I personally prefer the simple copy of the HDD file. The only unfortunate thing is that it takes about 8 minutes to copy mine. 18.2gb... But that is time I scan for emails or look up stuff on the web.

    When that copy is done I simply label it with date/time comments as part of the foldername and I have what I consider to be a better "snapshot" than I've ever seen before!

    I can even take that "snapshot" home to my MacMini and fire it up there and I have EVERYTHING I had as of the point I copied the file. So I don't see a need for this either.

  16. copying may solve the problem temporary but when the file really gets very very big, you're back to the ancient time where people use tape drive to back up stuff......think again....

    imagine if you have a VM that weighs 500GB!!!!!
  17. .
    You have a 500Gb disk?
  18. First off I remember somewhere someone from Parallels said the max is 128GB. Not sure if I'm right on that.

    Second in my experience with snapshot abilities within an OS like Windows they basically suck. On my Toshiba laptop I asked it to go to a "restore point" or something like that and the thing rebooted and refused to boot after that until a reformat and reload.

    I have no experience with a snapshot ability in something like VMware but I would have to expect just enabling it would a) slow things down as it monitored for changes. b) eat up more disk space as it recorded those changes.

    For me I'm perfectly happy with a copy of my 20g VM disk. Just my opinion. I'd much rather see Parallels get USB fully working than worry about snapshots.
  19. Clarification of Snapshot in VMWARE

    Hello MarkHolbrook,

    Just to clarify Snapshots in VMWare for you, They do not run all the time as system restore does. And the feature does not track changes. The purpose of this features is to take a "picture" of the VM at a specfic moment in time. Then you can test certain things on the VM and when you are done revert back to the snapshot and everything will be exactly as it was when you took the snapshot, everything done after that shot would be gone.

    In VMWARE, you can take many different snapshot and organize them in certain timelines for certain situations. If I remeber correctly, VMware uses a sort of configuration file or database that keeps a record of the snapshot and what the vm looks like, when you want to revert back, it puts those settings back into the vm and it is back as it was. I do not fully understand how this is done. But I do know it is a valuable feature.

    The best part of it is it does not make a double of the vm, just "caches" the setup at that time. So it would not say, take your 10GB VM and create a seperate 10GB VM somewhere else, it would create a, possibly, significantly smaller file with the settings and setup info for that snapshot. Space saving is the key to this feature.

    Hope I shed a little light on it for you.

    Deuce :)
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2007

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