HowTo Clone a Virtual Machine On VMWare’s free ESXi

You will require SSH access to your Virtual Machine, read over my article Gaining SSH Access To VMWare ESXi which provides the steps required to gain SSH access.

Once you have SSH access, you just need to create a Virtual Machine Directory in your DataStore which should be located in “/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/”. Type the following.

mkdir /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/NewVM

You will then need to run the “vmkfstools” to clone the Virtual Machine.

/vmfs/volumes/4991bc35-5ced5b0c-a99e-00221953f98d # /sbin/vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/exch01/exch01.vmdk /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/newvmware/newvmware.vmdk
Destination disk format: VMFS thick
Cloning disk ‘/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/exch01/exch01.vmdk’…
Clone: 100% done.
/vmfs/volumes/4991bc35-5ced5b0c-a99e-00221953f98d #

The Virtual Machine should now be cloned.

Some may ask how you now create a new Virtual Machine based on this clone. You simply do the following.

  1. Make a new VM on this server
  2. Choose ‘Custom’ and when you get to the ‘Select a Disk’ portion of creation you will browse the datastore and select this newly renamed vmdk file.

Viola! Done!

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