Unable to perform an update of a Novell Filr, Search or MySQL appliance that has VMware snapshots.

  • 7013454
  • 14-Oct-2013
  • 15-Oct-2013


Novell Filr 1.0
Novell Filr 1.0.1
VMware ESX 4.1
VMware ESXi 4.1
VMware ESXi 5.0
VMware ESXi 5.1
(VMware Workstation)


Novell releases a new Filr, Search and MySQL Appliance as a maintenance update or new release on a regular base.
The current method of upgrading is as documented in the updating Filr section of the documentation on how to deploy a new version of the appliances, is to power off the original appliances and re-assign the secondary storage device of each appliance to the newly deployed appliance.

VMware supported Hypervisor platforms offer the capability of creating a snapshot of a Virtual Machine (VM).
Although in a test environment this is a useful feature to revert back to a  state before a change was made, this is not a supported method for creating back-ups, not even by VMware.

Be aware that VM snapshots are not the same or usable as disk snapshots for backup purposes. There are several other back-up solutions that can create a snapshot of the disks; the preferred method for backing up /vastorage and /vashare.


This is due to how VMware snapshots work, the build-in Virtual Machine protection mechanisms prevent the disks of a VM that has at least one snapshot enabled from being deleted or manipulated.

The only 2 methods that have been tested and proven to work, to be performed prior to upgrading Novell Filr are :
  • Delete the snapshots of the Virtual Machine(s).
  • Create a clone of the Virtual Machine(s).

Each method has it's drawbacks: deleting the snapshots disables the rollback to a previous state of the Virtual Appliance (VA), creating a clone requires the availability of sufficient disk space.


When creating a VMware snapshot, each disk gets a child disk as explained in VMware knowledge base entry 1015180 .
This causes VMWare to not allow the deletion, manipulation or re-assignment of disks to an other Virtual machine (VM). This feature, provided by VMware, is working as designed in this manner.

As the snapshots are VM specific, an other VM is unaware of the snapshot it is impossible to add a child .vmdk to the new Novell Filr VA.

Re-assigning the parent .vmdk file (which is an easy error to make, as this is the only one named [name of the VM].vmdk) would cause the loss of all changes made on that disk since the VMware snapshot was created.

Additional Information

VMWare Workstation is mentioned as it is _only_ supported to deploy the Novell Filr VAs on this VMware hypervisor for testing purposes.

As stated in the documentation, the only supported VMware host servers are ESX 4.1 and ESXi versions 4.1, 5.0 and 5.1