I want to make a clone of a windows 2008 R2 VM on one of my ESX4i boxes.
How do I make a complete copy ( clone ) of the VM and save it somewhere on another server as a failsafe backup in case a production change goes wrong and I need to roll back?
I thought about snapshots, but my limited understanding of snapshots is that once youtake a snapshot its there forever unless you delete it and it will grow larger and larger as its a delta ( difference ) file and can slow performance down by just being there. presumably once the change to the production system has the OK, you delete the snapshot. However, later if I wanted to make another backup of the system, I'd need to take another clone and stroe it somewhere.
Also, is it possible to store a clone as an ISO or similar? When I was running VMServer ( whihc was installed on a windows PC ) cloning Vms was easy as all you did was shutdown the VM, copy all the VM files ( vmdks etc ) and store somewhere on a windows lan. With ESXi its more complicated from what I can see.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Assuming you don't have vcenter you could use the eval version of vcenter to at least make a clone of the VM and keep it powered off for emergencies.
hope that helps
For Linux VM's, as long as you have two datastores attached you can "copy" the vmdk from one datastore to the other.
Create a new VM without any vmdk's on the datastore opposite the one that contains the source VM
Browse your datastore
Right click the folder that contains the VMDK you want to copy (with it powered off of course)
Select the folder you just created on your 2nd datastore as the destination
After copying, attach vmdk to new VM,
Power up,change IP, etc.
You could also just copy the entire source VM folder, then re-register the vmx (I think that will work)
If you need to clone a Windows VM, I just use the P2V utility and sysprep.
The same applies to Windows - copy files. Just one more step in 6 - run sysprep.
MCSA, MCTS, VCP, VMware vExpert '2009