How to Save Time Cloning VMs in Hyper-V
Installing guest operating systems and associated applications can eat up a lot of your time. That’s why it’s much easier creating duplicates of already-deployed systems – opposed to tedious importing/exporting options – which requires you to install each new VM separately. Enter cloning VMs in Hyper-V.
So, Exactly What Is a VM clone?
A clone is an exact copy of an existing virtual machine. Cloning enables you to produce one or more VM copies from a previous installation and configuration. Think of it as a template for creating VMs on a reoccurring basis. Clones are useful in all types of situations, especially when deploying multiple VMs to a specific workgroup.
Use cases include:
- Cloning VMs by department, as each workgroup likely uses the same business applications (i.e. finance, marketing, sales, and customer support)
- Cloning VMs for development purposes, which quickly enables a consistent testing environment from which you can continuously baseline
- Cloning VMs for contractors and temporary workers, as you can easily control the resources to which they have access
With Microsoft’s native Hyper-V Manager, your only option is to first export the VM and then import it. This process isn’t too bad if you’re importing and exporting to different Hyper-V hosts (You will however have to sit around and wait for each step to complete before initiating a new step, and you might have other, more important things to do).
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The process gets really tricky when importing/exporting to the same host – you will have to specify a different location to store the virtual hard disk. Otherwise, the new VHD (or VHDX) will have the same file name as the source virtual hard disk, and the Import Wizard does not provide a way to change the name of the virtual machine and virtual hard disk.
With 5nine Manager this complexity is a non-factor. These steps are easy, and automatically completed in just a few clicks.
Here’s how it works:
1. Specify the path for the temporary exported virtual machine data
2. Provide a unique name for the clone
3. Specify the number of clones you want to create
4. Specify the destination folder for the storage and configurations of the clone
5. Review job details and make necessary corrections
6. Review the job summary
7. Monitor job process for completion
5nine Manager makes the whole cloning process simple, straightforward and quick. Not only does it centralize the whole process into a single screen, it fills native gaps for changing names, creating multiple clones, monitoring progress, savings as templates and more.
It also makes scalability easier. You can go from one VM to literally hundreds of VMs in just a few clicks. The capability is especially useful for organizations who need to frequently spin up multiple VMs and then quickly delete them (i.e. POC labs, test labs and schools). With the native Hyper-V Manager, organizations would have to import each VM one at a time.
For the sake of consistency and convenience, 5nine manager allows users to save clones as templates in the resource library for future use. That way, any administrator can consistently spin up clones for any use case: by department, organizational unit, employee level, etc.
If you have an upcoming project where cloning VMs is a component, use 5nine Manager to get the job done. It will save you time and a whole lot of headache. If you do give it a try, let us know what you think!