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We would like to create multiple VMs from the same base VMDK without the need to clone the full vmdk.

Our goal is to have one e.g. 100GB base vmdk and X derived VMs, which only store their changes to the base vmdk, e.g. ~1GB each. We want to save storage. Does templating work like this? Or does it always create a full copy of the vmdk?

We created a few VMs from the same non-persistend vmdk. The problem, when shutting them down, we lost every changes (as expected).

Can this be achieved with VMWare Essentials? Or do we need some datastore which handles duplicates?

We are beginners on VMWare, there might be an obvious solution which we have not figured out yet.

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The function you're looking for is called 'Linked Clones' and is automatically used by VMware's Horizon/View VDI solution, is available as an option using their Cloud Director product and will be available for docker-containers via their 'vSphere Integrated Containers' product when complete - until then it's not a option though I believe it may be possible to do this via scripting but I'm not sure it's supported on its own. If it's datastore space you're concerned about why not consider using deduplication on your storage backend?

  • We are currently using a cheap Synology NAS as iscsi target. Since this is very slow, we want to move to a integrated solution with 1 server and local storage only. Our NAS has some kind of deduplication, but i don't know if it supports some kind of block level deduplication. We have a tight budget, so the max software we can use is VMWare essentials, maybe the plus version. – Hugie Jul 24 '17 at 14:56
  • Get rid of this model: use some vSAN from any vendor you like and keep your backups on Synology - they aren't primary VM storage. Last thing you want to have - SPOF in form of your shared storage :) – BaronSamedi1958 Aug 14 '17 at 8:47

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