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It's getting hot in here: Performing a hot VM clone

Is live VM cloning possible on platforms other than VMware?

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Absolutely. Microsoft's Windows Server 2012 R2 has finally integrated this oft-requested feature in a way that compares to VMware Inc.'s own implementation. Xen and KVM only support live VM clones through third-party applications, but both vendors have begun research to offer native support of the process.

Additional reading on VM cloning

Addressing cloning errors in Windows

Cloning with the NetApp VSC vCenter Plug-in

If you have an older version of Hyper-V, or versions of Xen or KVM without the native research-level hot clone components, however, you must turn to traditional live imaging software, such as Clonezilla, to live copy your virtual machines. The software is a more primitive way to accomplish the goal, and the clone won't include hypervisor-drive operating system environment genericization. Live imaging software will not link the child VM to the parent either, and it does not reduce storage block usage nor give you any other benefits typically associated with cloning through a hypervisor's management stack. To reach those goals, only VMware and Microsoft's Server 2012 R2 will get the job done.

This was first published in July 2013

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