StarWind Virtual SAN® Working with StarWind LSFS Snapshots in ESXi

Published: March 2017

Snapshot mounting serves to restore the data that has been lost or deleted from the device. By default, all LSFS snapshots are mounted only in read-only mode. When mounting the snapshot in StarWind management console, a new separate StarWind device with a new Target is created. The problem is that after connecting to the ESXi host, the snapshot fails to write its "signature" to the disc, being read-only. Thus, the snapshot can’t get mounted. To resolve the issue, LSFS has a pseudo read-only mode providing a small WB cache that is never flushed allowing the device to become ESXi compatible. This guide provides detailed instructions on how to create and mount the LSFS snapshots in the ESXi and covers three basic mounting scenarios:

  • turning off the original device and keeping the existing signature;
  • assigning a new signature (UUID);
  • formatting the disk.

The first step is to select the LSFS device in the StarWind Management Console and create a snapshot using Snapshot Manager. After this, the snapshot can be mounted using the StarWind Management Console where all the cache settings should be left by default. After that, the new snapshot will be available on the list of StarWind devices.

Next stage is mounting the snapshot to the ESXi host.

The first scenario here is mounting the snapshot with the existing signature:

The first step is to select the original device and unmount it from the ESXi host. Next, storage should be added and LUN selected. After this, the option “Keep the existing signature” should be chosen and the snapshot will be created.

The second scenario is mounting the snapshot with a new signature

When mounting the snapshot with a new signature, ESXi assigns it a new UUID and a new name and mounts it as a separate independent Datastore. The first step here is to run the wizard, add storage and select the LUN. After this, the option “Assign a new signature” should be chosen. The last page of the wizard will show the new UUID the ESXi assigned to the mounted snapshot, which becomes a separate Datastore.

The third scenario, mounting the snapshot with full formatting makes little sense since the snapshots are ReadOnly. If “Format the disk” option will be selected, the ESXi will try to remove the file system from the ReadOnly snapshot, which will lead to an access error.

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