After fiddling around with a lot of bad advice I finally found one suggestion that worked for me to clone an ESXi VM. It's not elegant or quick....
so being relatively new to the vmware world and a somewhat reluctant participant since the test system i'm using won't support Hyper-V and only VMware, it's comforting to see that there's a Unix kernel lurking in it's background and that some of the old familiar shell commands work, like ls and df, etc. Unfortunately I don't see a man-pages facility which would help.
the long and short of this cloning thing was found here . Essentially you ssh into the esxi host and run a vmkfs -i command to clone the vm.
- If you hadn't activate SSH then do this as described here.
- Create a new VM with the same configuration as the machine you wish to clone.
- By creating the VM you also created its virtual disk (*.vmdk).
- Delete this disk (we will replace it with the clone) by using the “Datastore Browser” or SSH on ESXi.
- Connect to your ESXi by using SSH.
- type the following command (here “ubu-10.04-server” is the template).
vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ubu-10.04-server/ubu-10.04-server.vmdk /vmfs/volumes/datastore1/newmachine/newmachine.vmdk
Destination disk format: VMFS zeroedthick
Cloning disk '/vmfs/volumes/datastore1/ubu-10.04-server/ubu-10.04-server.vmdk'...
Clone: 100% done.
- boot your new machine and configure it.