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Updating remote VM's

Posted on 2012-12-28
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Last Modified: 2013-01-02
I have a dozen coworkers spread out around the country. We all use VMware fusion with the same VM image.

We meet every quarter and I update the image on their laptop. In between quarterly meetings, I would like to ship updates to their VM. I do not need to preserve any changes they have made. I want to do this without shipping the 50gb .vmdk.

Hence, my question. Given that all users have the same .vmx, .vmdk, etc., Is there any way for me to simply send them a delta file that contains the changes I have made to the VM? For instance, suppose we all had a plain copy of windows on a vm. I then go into my copy the vm and install firefox. I then want to ship my coworkers a delta file that included the firefox install. Is this possible? Is there a linked clone option on the desktop?
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Question by:longhorntx
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Expert Comment

by:Spartan_1337
ID: 38728114
I would suggest you look into VMWare latest product, Mirage.
This will do the job you are looking for.

http://wanova.com/

http://www.vmware.com/products/desktop_virtualization/mirage.html
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LVL 120
ID: 38728155
it is possible by distributing a snapshot, this can be merged with a parent disk to provide updates, but this is not an officially supported method.

and your snapshot delta update will erase any changes they have made to their image, so its best to have two disks

eg OS and Apps - disk1

eg Data users data and files - disk2

again it involves the modification of the delta snapshot to the parent for the merge, but not supported
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Author Comment

by:longhorntx
ID: 38729690
Thanks for the help.  I checked Mirage but I don't think it does what I want.

hanccocka- the snapshot approach seems promising.  Can you confirm that the procedure is:
1) Build the master VM and take a snapshot
2) Distribute the VM folder including the snapshot
3) To update the remote vm, send a new snapshot delta file and replace the existing file on the target machines

Would you expect this to negatively impact performance?
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 500 total points
ID: 38730006
You would actually, build the VM, distribute the VM without the snapshot, and then later create a snapshot, you make the changes on your Master, and then send out the snapshot.

BUT, it's not supported, can be difficult to configure and it's not easy for the end user.

does not affect performance.
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