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I read about cold and hot-cloning everywhere, but isn't the following possible:

  • snapshot the machine while running including the memory
  • restore the snapshot (including the memory) as a new VM (e.g. paused)
  • be able to change the NIC to an isolated network etc. so the clone doesn't interfere with the original
  • resume the clone/fork exactly at the snapshot state

This would not create any inconsistencies in the cloned VM. At least no filesystem-level inconsistencies...

Nobody talks about this, so probably it won't work. Does the snapshot that "Clone..." in Vcenter takes at least quiesce the disks then? There is no option in the "Clone" dialog to do this explicitely.

Thoughts on why this probably couldn't work: MAC address changes instantly => OS may not be happy.

What do you think?

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"Nobody talks about this, so probably it won't work." <--- why would you make that assumption? It's likely that the real reason people aren't talking about it is that there are better ways to accomplish the same thing without having to deal with an inconsistent and possibly corrupt filesystem (which is a likely possibility whenever you're talking about cloning live systems). – EEAA Aug 7 '13 at 16:32
The goal would be to have something consistent that you can just continue to use without powering off the original. Feel free to mention the better ways. ;-) – Marki Aug 7 '13 at 16:36

Yes, you can clone a VM from a snapshot. Not through the vSphere client GUI, but via PowerCLI. See this post for details: You won't be able to resume the cloned VM though. So it will start up with a potentially inconsistent file system.

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