I have created a VM in project A in GCE. I want to create a new instance based on this VM in another project B.

I reckon I can spawn a new instance based on the a disk snapshot. However I cannot find any option to transfer such a snapshot across project.

My questions are:

1) how can I transfer a disk snapshot across projects in Google Cloud Platform projects?

2) Is there a better way to achieve this other than using a docker image?

3 Answers 3


Since I cannot turn off the source VM because it is currently in use in a production environment, I have to use the following steps to create a mirror VM in another project:

1) Create a snapshot of the boot disk of the source VM

2) Create a disk based on this snapshot in the target project

 gcloud compute disks create vm-prod-disk --source-snapshot \
 project>/global/snapshots/<source-vm-snapshot> --project target-project

3) Create a VM based on the new disk from step 2

gcloud compute instances create vm-prod-duplicate \
--project target-project --disk name=vm-prod-disk,boot=yes
  • 2
    Creating a snapshot of a running instance may result in an inconsistent snapshot.
    – Brian
    Dec 12, 2017 at 19:47

You first have to create an image in your old-project

gcloud compute images create "my-image" --source-disk "my-disk"

Now, you can create a machine in another project with it, since images are global resources:

gcloud compute instances create "my-instance" \
    --image "my-image" \
    --image-project "new-project"

There are also other solutions.

  • I tried the image create but it complaints about The disk resource 'my-disk' is already being used by 'my-vm' Feb 9, 2017 at 21:34
  • You first have to turn off the VM and detach the disk from the VM. After that you can reattach it again. Feb 9, 2017 at 21:39
  • I see. Unfortunately I cannot turn off the vm instance. It is a production instance Feb 9, 2017 at 22:08

create an image in your old-project

    gcloud compute images create "my-image" --source-disk "my-disk"

copy image to new-project

    gcloud compute --project=newprojectid images create image-2 --source-image=image-1 --source-image-project=oldprojectid

create instance using this image

  • 2
    This is almost identical to the accepted answer, with the exception that it's less complete.
    – Spooler
    Mar 20, 2019 at 13:24

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