Cloning a VM Ware server, some general guidelines please.

Ok I have a few questions on cloning a windows 2003 server for use as a template, going foward.

1) Does cloning pertain to the OS and all installed programs?  An exact duplicate, in terms of hard drive size, network settings, everything in totality?
2) are there any issues with SID numbers after cloning?  If so, what's the best way to address this?
3) If I clone a machine and then find that I need a smaller or larger hard drive setting, is this as simple as going to "edit settings" and changing that stuff?  
3.5)  What about volumes?  If I clone a machine that has a C: drive, is it difficult to edit one of the cloned copies to have a C: and D: drive which are different sizes than the original?
4) What's the difference between "cloning" and "cloning to template"?
Thanks!
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LB1234Asked:
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gracemediaCommented:
Check out Acronis

I thionk that would probably work out better for you. http://www.acronis.com/ 

You will not run into any issues and you can download a free trial to test it out first if you'd like. I've done this plenty of time on our servers and works like a charm.

Good Luck!
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LB1234Author Commented:
Work out better than what?  I think you're maybe talking about a different kind of cloning :)  I'm talking about cloning virtual servers.  Thanks anyhow.
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johnpittCommented:
1) Does cloning pertain to the OS and all installed programs?  An exact duplicate, in terms of hard drive size, network settings, everything in totality?

Everything gets copied. It is an exact replica

2) are there any issues with SID numbers after cloning?  If so, what's the best way to address this?

No. Once you change the name and/or domain it supposedly resets the SID. (That is how I do it.)

3) If I clone a machine and then find that I need a smaller or larger hard drive setting, is this as simple as going to "edit settings" and changing that stuff?
Smaller, no. Larger. yes. but I do not think you can incorporate that into the existing formatted drive. It has to be added as a new partition.
 
3.5)  What about volumes?  If I clone a machine that has a C: drive, is it difficult to edit one of the cloned copies to have a C: and D: drive which are different sizes than the original?

Yes, add a new virtual HD.
4) What's the difference between "cloning" and "cloning to template"?
Cloning makes another VM. Cloning to Template creates a Template you can create VM's from. There may be some more technical differences but I am not sure what they are.
Thanks!
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gracemediaCommented:
Sorry, may have read the question too quickly. Best of luck.
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vmwarun - ArunCommented:
With respect to your second question about SIDs, its always better to use SysPrep when you deploy VMs from Templates.

More about SysPrep - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc783215(WS.10).aspx
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johnpittCommented:
I may be wrong about the computer sid getting changed. Actually it is the Domain account SID that is changed. VMWare has a supported method with integrating sysprep into a template which is probably the correct way of doing it. I just took a clean machine and cloned it to a template. No issues so far.
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davismisbehavisCommented:
Right as I understand it you are talking about virtual machine templates based on a windows 2003 server build you have already.  Hopefully the following should answer your questions.

1) Does cloning pertain to the OS and all installed programs?  An exact duplicate, in terms of hard drive size, network settings, everything in totality?

Absolutely,  exact copy.  Best bet here is to build a VM server to your companies standard build  guidelines.  Don't put to much on it.  We tend to only put on windows server and make the necessary windows tweaks and changes.  We also create a C: Drive only so that way we can deploy the server from template and add virtual disks to it as required.  15 - 20GB for a C: drive should suffice.

2) are there any issues with SID numbers after cloning?  If so, what's the best way to address this?

If you are using Virtual Center (Sounds like it by some of the terminology you used) then you should have sysprep integrated with virtual centre.  Friend of mine Lee @ application Delivery has a great article on how to do this http://www.applicationdelivery.co.uk/blog/leew/how-to-use-the-sysprep-components-of-virtual-center-to-automate-the-provisioning-of-virtual-machines/
Each time you come to deploy a VM from template you can run SYSPREP and customise it the way you want it,  new SID, custom Network settings, etc , etc

3) If I clone a machine and then find that I need a smaller or larger hard drive setting, is this as simple as going to "edit settings" and changing that stuff?  

You can always convert a template back into a VM, make changes and then mark it as a template again.  We do this often to deploy patches and keep the templates up to date.  As I said before create your template with a C: Drive only, that way you can add additional drives as required.  i.e. SQL servers D: data and E: Logs

3.5)  What about volumes?  If I clone a machine that has a C: drive, is it difficult to edit one of the cloned copies to have a C: and D: drive which are different sizes than the original?

Again make sure your template C: drive has plenty of space so you don't need to change it,  if you do then check out the following which is a procedure I've used in the past. http://vsphere-land.com/tips-tricks/re-sizing-virtual-disks

4) What's the difference between "cloning" and "cloning to template"?

Cloning a machine is taking a clone of it as a seperate VM,  cloning to template takes a copy of the VM and then marks it as a template.  You can then deploy from this template and use the SYSPREP tools.

Hope this helps

www.virtualpro.co.uk 
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