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how to create a "linked clone" in ESXi 6

Posted on 2016-07-19
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I have a hypervisor that I install on my local laptop named "Oracle vBox". In this tool, I am able to create a VM, then create a "linked clone" from the original VM. When I do this the base VM for windows will be about 12GB, but the linked clone will be only 1GB. This is great for saving space.

We have the need to do the same thing in our ESXi 6 development environment. We need to spin up a few windows 10 desktops but they don't need to have amazing performance. It would be great if we could keep them small so the backups go quick.

What I did was create a VM named windows_10_base with a 100GB [c] drive thin provisioned. Then I cloned this to a template, then I created a new VM from the template. Maybe I am reading this wrong however when I browse the VM templates folder and look at my template there is column named "provisioned space" and the provisioned space reads 100GB.

I am not sure if that is actually the disk space the template is consuming, but I was hoping for a small footprint using thin provisioning and linked clones.

Did I go about this the correct way in ESXi? Is there a way I can do the same thing as the Oracle vBox "linked clone"?
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Question by:sqlagent007
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 41720084
under the disks you make a differencing disk and use the original disk as the source. You MUST sysprep the operating system if a Microsoft Product (microsoft restriction)
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Author Comment

by:sqlagent007
ID: 41720182
Can you show me a screen shot of how to do this or a URL with step by step instructions? I can't figure this out, see my screen shots.
vmware-new-hard-disk.tiff
vm-clone-from-base.tiff
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 41720303
Linked Clones are only supported in the Horizon View environment.

However ESXi 6.0 does have the technology to create linked clones, and these can be created using scripts.

Do you have vCenter Server, because it's much easier ?

see here

http://sanbarrow.com/linkedcloneswithesxi

http://fewstreet.com/2014/05/30/creating-a-linked-clone-esxi.html

if you have vCenter Server, you can use this script here

http://michlstechblog.info/blog/vmware-vsphere-create-a-linked-clone-with-powercli/
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Author Closing Comment

by:sqlagent007
ID: 41723431
Thanks!!
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