Save Archive of VMWare Virtual Machine

In VMWare ESXI 6x, I want a way to save a SAFE copy og the my virtual servers. In a previous life I was a CITRIX (XenServer) administrator and we could just take a SNAPSHOT of the working server so we could recover it in case of some bug-a-boo took it out. I am now a VMware administrator and I understand that a VMware snapshot in view Administartor is not the same thing as a snapshot in XenServer. In fact VMware states that you should NOT keep a snapshot on a Production server due to its difference disk and it size growing and IO performance issues, etc.  So my question is this. What is the recommended way to save a SAFE copy of a operating Production Server WITHOUT using Special 3rd party backup software so I could restore it if the Production got damaged somehow?
 Keep a safe copy aside just in case.
David KingDirector I.T. SystemsAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
a CLONE is as it states identical to the original.

Names in the Inventory do not affect the running OS, and are for your help.

Okay, I wondered if you actually wanted to ARCHIVE, e.g. move from datastore, inventory and power off, and remove from Inventory.

CLONE will do what you want.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
You are correct about VMware Snapshots.

A couple of methods....

Export and Import to an OVA (for free within VMware vSphere)

Part 10: HOW TO: Backup (Export) and Restore (Import) virtual machines to VMware vSphere Hypervisor 5.1 for FREE

This will archive them OFF the datastore.

or, you could copy and paste

HOW TO: Clone or Copy a virtual machine in VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESX/ESXi 4.x or ESXi 5.0

if you have vCenter Server, it's easier because you can just right click and select CLONE.

Do you really need to archive or backup ?

e.g. do you need to use the VM, or just "park it to one side and not in use or turned on?"
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David KingDirector I.T. SystemsAuthor Commented:
I don't need to use the ARCHJIVED VM. It is just for Emergency use in case a Virus or something buggers the production version of the running one. So the CLONE VM is probably the best and fastest way to save a copy of the working VM then?
I do have vCenter Server. 6.x

*Dave
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Correct CLONE works well, I assume you need to use the Production VM, and not Archive It, so it's NOT in use or available, so technically, you want Production VM and a Backup VM (Archive)
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David KingDirector I.T. SystemsAuthor Commented:
Yes that is correct, the CLONE will just be PARKED (down state) in case I need it to restore the production VM for some reason.
 I guess a RESTORE isn't really the correct TERM since it is actually a copy of the original machine. I would have to REBUILD it in reality. AKA: Destroy the original production server and rename the Clone VM to the production machine name to replace it. RIght?
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David KingDirector I.T. SystemsAuthor Commented:
I will CLONE all of my Critical Productions in VSPhere Server and leave them down for safe keeping then.

Thanks,
*Dave
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