How to clone a VMware Server virtual machine

Here is a quick guide on how to clone a VMware Server Virtual Machine and bring it up as a new VM in its own right. This allows you to build one base line image and then produce several separate servers from it, or for example, to clone a production VM to test installing a software upgrade on it.

1. First off, you need to have built your source server
2. Now ensure it is shut down & VMware Server shows it as powered off.
3. Next copy the VM’s folder to a new folder eg: copy c:\Virtual_Machines\CentOS_5.1\ to c:\Virtual_Machines\devel-server\
4. Now we need to rename the VMware config file, change into your new VM’s directory and rename the .vmx file. eg: from centos.vmx to devel-server.vmx
5. You now need to change the name of the VM in the config file. Open the .vmx file in a text editor and edit the display name line as required. Ensure this does not clash with any of your other VMs.
eg: form this: displayName = “centos” to this: displayName = “devel-server”
6. You can also rename the disks if you need to, you will also need to change the disk names in the config file. However, I normally setup the disks myself when i create the machine as disk1 disk2 etc and when I clone the server all its disks are duplicated in the new folder, that way i don’t need to rename them and they are completely seperate servers. Nice and clean way of doing things. If your unsure leave your disk files and their entires in your config file alone.
7. Now open VMware Server Console, and connect to your server
8. Then click on File, Open, Browse and locate your new VMX config file in your new VM’s folder.
9. Now you should be able to power up your new VM.
10. You will now need to tell it to create a new UUID when asked

This also works on linux but your server VM path will be more like: /var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines

Other things to think about, the hostname of your server, and its IP address. These are the two issues people have once they have cloned a server, if its DHCP, your ok, if its static, boot only one at a time.

The first time you boot your new system (The clone) set its hostname and IP configuration.

Stay tuned for my next post: Delete mail, exim mail queue

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