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I have 2 Linux Host VmWare Virtual Machines: one in a desktop and the other in a laptop. They use vmware player. What is the best way to synchronize the Virtual Machines? They are never used in the same time.

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never used vmware player does it support a network based datastore? –  tony roth Mar 27 '12 at 21:21

3 Answers 3

At the VMWare Player and VMWare Workstation level, the only way to keep two virtual machines on seperate hardware in sync (from outside the VM) is to manually copy the VM from one host to the other each and every time it is used.

How you do this varies greatly on your underlying OS and your choice of copying software.

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Are you concerned about the OS, the data, or both? If the only thing you change is data and data is in a separate data disk, say mounted on /home, then it would be the easiest.

If the vmdk file is fairly small say only a few GB, you can just overwrite the older one with the new.

For data, you can just power them up in the same subnet, and do an rsync with the update option.

The upshot is it would depend on your detailed requirements. Actually I would also recommend simply put the vm in a usb stick and play it wherever you go.

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Good idea about the USB drive... –  Mark Henderson Mar 27 '12 at 20:38
Running a VM from a USB stick is probably not the fastest thing around... –  Massimo Mar 27 '12 at 20:39
Yeah, it is a bit slow to start, but works fine because system cache should kick in. I still remember Diane Green (former VMware ceo) starting her great desktop demo from ipod nano back in vmworld 2006. –  johnshen64 Mar 27 '12 at 21:03

This question may be a bit old, but I just ran across this as I’m currently setting up some similar thing (syncing one VM across multiple hosts via Dropbox) and discovered that my approach is not mentioned here:

  1. Create a VM with a single HDD, split into 2GB files
  2. Create a snapshot (now all new changes will be written to a second, differencing disk file)
  3. Move the whole VM without the original/parent disk file (but including the new differencing disk) to the Dropbox
  4. Manually copy the original/parent disk file to every host where you want to run the VM

This way the big part of the VM needs to be copied only once to every host and the differencing part will be synced via Dropbox. You just need to place the parent disk file(s) intelligently, as the differencing disk in the Dropbox links to the parent disk on the hose, so the parent disk has to have the (symlinked) same path on all hosts.

As I mentioned, I’m currently just setting this up and haven’t solved the problem that each differencing disk split file gets up to 2GB and thus the syncing would again perform really bad. I think vdiskmanager is able to adjust the size of the a split disk, but I can’t confirm this at the moment and also don’t know how the VM performs with small split disk parts. (I’ll update this, when I get to know more.)

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