The problem is this: We want to clone a production "service" (e.g. one web and one database server) to a dev/test/support equivalent (as and when customers require). The machines are AD (Active Directory) bound, and do not live inside a vApp, but could be moved into one.
However, simply cloning vApp "Prod1" to "Dev1" and bringing it up could cause problems. For example serverA within Dev1 would contain the same machine name, and machine password as serverA within Prod1. This means that serverA in Dev1 could potentially change the password for the computer account in AD and take Production services offline. Essentially we need to be able to bring up the development VMs and destroy their machine identity before putting them on the network, and rejoining to AD. A sysprep of sorts, but without any kind of resetting to the OS.
Within the standard vCenter tool set (vCenter, ESXi, PowerCLI), is it possible to somehow overcome this hurdle? I'm not sure if vApp Advanced Configuration Properties would help?
Well if your Dev and QA environment are sharing the same AD and you want both envrionment to participate in AD operations, then you cant achieve this. Only one object with one hostname can reside in AD . if you try to do duplicate then it will cause problems in the prod environment. possibly your host will unjoin the domain itself. And many similiar problems so on.
In General For dev environment we recommend to use the similiar name only with the dev with prefix.