Version Control System Windows Windows Server

Virtual Machine Snapshot vs Backup


A virtual machine (VM) can serve as a virtual environment to carry out some tasks you may not ordinarily want to use the physical environment to carry out. One important thing to consider when using VM is the saving and storing of data. There are two ways you can effectively and efficiently protect the VM data, one is taking the Snapshot or Checkpoint and the other way is Backup. These two technologies are alike, but they are different. Both Snapshot and Backup ensure data security. In this guide, you will learn the differences between Virtual Machine Snapshot vs Backup. Refer to these guides for more information: How to create and delete a snapshot on VMware Workstation, how to extend a VM’s Hard Disk on VMware Workstation, how to create a HyperV checkpoint, and how to restore a VM to its previous state (restoring a checkpoint).

Snapshot VS Backup

The core function of a Snapshot is that of capturing the state of the virtual machine at a particular period. With a Snapshot, you can roll back a VM to a specific point in time. Backup is a long-term solution while Snapshot is a short-term backup solution. Below are some differences between the two.

HyperV checkpoints are called Snapshot.
  • Snapshots are dependent on the parent virtual disk, once the parent disk is deleted only the Snapshot taken is unable to restore the VM but with a Backup even when the parent disk is deleted, the Backup can restore the Virtual machine.
  • Snapshot can drastically increase and reduces storage space. This will in turn affect performance. Backups can be stored on different storage and can be stored at any time.
  • A Snapshot can only be used to roll back to a previous working state. But a Backup can be used to create or spin up another VM using the same location or a different location.

The following steps show how to do a Snapshot or Checkpoint which is a way to manage a system versioning and does not need a lot of storage space

1: Inside a Hyper-V, we have the checkpoint that acts the same way as a snapshot. Right-click on the virtual machine and click on Checkpoint.


2. Enable Checkpoints as shown below. Click on Checkpoints Production and check Enable checkpoints and click OK.


3. You can create multiple checkpoints. If there are issues working on the VM at a specific period of time. You can select any of the checkpoints and roll back effortlessly.


Take a Snapshot

4. Inside a VMware you can take a Snapshot of your virtual machine by right-clicking the VM and clicking on

 Snapshot >> Take Snapshot

5. Give the Snapshot a name. You will see it’s plainly stated that “taking a Snapshot can preserve the state of a virtual machine and it's possible to reverse that state later“.


6. The Snapshot Manager can be used to manage different Snapshots that were created and can also be used to activate any Snapshots selected. Just click on Yes and the Snapshot selected will return you back to the state when the Snapshot was taken.


The following step shows how to do a Backup which is a copy of the entire virtual computer or replicates.

7. Navigate to the VM file source whether it’s Hyper-V or VMware virtual machine. You can install a backup application to do your backup. Read how to Set up Windows Server on Hyper-V and backup HyperV VM: How to perform Windows Server backup with Nakivo or Windows Server backup utility and How to install and configure Veeam Backup and Replication 11 Community Edition with its default SQL Server Express Edition


Here is a YouTube video on How to create a Microsoft HyperV checkpoint.

I hope you found this blog post Virtual Machine Snapshot vs Backup Interesting and helpful. In case you have any questions do not hesitate to ask in the comment section.

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