Cloning/Backing up a VM in VMware vSphere Hypervisor

One missing feature of the wonderful free version of VMware vSphere Hypervisor is the auto-magic way of cloning a VM.  Nothing I could find at least on this.  There are features for managing snapshots of VMs, for taking snapshots and related tasks, however, to backup/clone a VM, you have to take matters into your own hands. 

Before you follow this steps, ensure the VM you’re about to clone is off.

First step, on your VMWare GUI, from Storage section, right click/browse the datastore where your VM image is stored.

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On the Datastore Browser, create a new folder.  This directory will shortly become your cloned VM directory.

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Having created a directory for the VM (to be cloned), click on the folder of the VM you want to clone now.  From the contents of this directory, select all the files, skip the logs and right-click copy.  Notice screen-grab shows .ldk and .vswp files.  The existence of these is because I grabbed the image from a running VM.  Remember the VM to be cloned should be shutdown.  These files should not be part of copy/paste steps.

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Having copied all the files, go back to the newly created directory and right-click paste these previously copied items.

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From all the copied files, right-click the file with the vmx extension and select ‘Add to Inventory’.

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Select a name for your newly created VM

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Finally, select the location of new VM.  Here you can see me place all ‘Base’ VMs in their own ‘Resource Pool’.  I am only doing this to group together copies I make of any VM I configure.  I haven’t even looked up why I want to use a resource pool for its intended purpose.

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You’re done!

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As mentioned at the beginning of this post, there may be an official way of creating/cloning VMs in VMware vSphere Hypervisor but I do not yet know how.  This, however, works like a charm, enjoy.  Thanks for reading.

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