Cloning virtual machines in vCenter Server


This article provides basic instructions for cloning virtual machines in your VMware vSphere or VMware Infrastructure environment.


To clone a virtual machine currently stored in the infrastructure:

Note: To be able clone a virtual machine, you must be connected to vCenter Server. You cannot clone virtual machines if you connect directly to an ESXi host.

  1. Open and log into the VMware vSphere or Infrastructure Client.
  2. Locate the virtual machine you wish to clone in the inventory.
  3. Establish if you will be cloning the virtual machine while it is powered on (live) or off.For VMware VirtualCenter 2.5 Update 2 and later, a live clone option is available. You may proceed with the virtual machine either powered on or off. Power it down to reduce snapshot storage requirements and ensure all disk transactions are committed to the clone. Live clones can be expected to result in a slightly out-of-date destination virtual machine, where data recorded (to snapshot delta disks, during the clone operation) is not committed to the destination copy.

    For prior versions of VMware VirtualCenter however, you must power down the virtual machine in order to clone it.

  4. Right-click the virtual machine and select Clone from the context menu.
  5. Follow the on-screen wizard and either clone the entire virtual machine to a single location, or relocate specific virtual machine disks to other locations.
  6. Complete the wizard to begin the clone operation.

Warning: Before you power on the virtual machine clone, understand the following:

  • Virtual machines clones are issued a new Universally Unique IDentifier (UUID). This affects user scripts and API calls to the UUID of the virtual machine.
  • Virtual machines clones are issued new MAC addresses for attached virtual network adapters. This may have an effect on software or licensing that is sensitive to MAC address changes.
  • Guest operating systems for virtual machine clones may share computer names and static IP addresses with their original counterparts. Be sure to account for this prior to power-on.

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