Cloning, Moving, or Copying a Virtual Machine without using VirtualCenter

I saw this while researching a vmware matter and thought I’d repeat it here since it gives step by step details for those command line junkies who need to do this process directly.

This note details moving, cloning, or copying a virtual machine created in local storage to a SAN VMFS volume and powering it on from there.

Use the ESX Server service console to manually clone the vmdk using command line options:
1. Connect to the ESX Server host using an SSH client.
2. Log in to the ESX Server host with a user that has administrative rights.
3. Change directory to /vmfs/volumes/ , where storage vmfs volume is the friendly name of the storage LUN presented to the ESX Server host.
4. Type mkdir and press Enter to create a directory in the vmfs volume.
5. Change directory to the newly created folder.
6. Type vmkfstools -i /vmfs/volumes//.vmdk /vmfs/volumes//.vmdk” and press Enter.

Note: Repeat Step 6 if you have more than one virtual disk in the virtual machine. The above steps clone only the virtual disk’s of the virtual machine and do not move the configuration file.
To attach the cloned virtual disk to a new virtual machine:

1. After the cloning completes, connect to the ESX Server host directly using the Virtual Infrastructure Client.
2. Log in as an user with administrative rights.
3. Right-click on the ESX Server host from the Inventory panel and click New Virtual Machine.
4. Select the Custom option from the wizard and click Next.
5. Select the Datastore where the new virtual machine files should be created.
6. Select an Operating System and Version and click Next.
7. Select the Number of virtual processors and click Next.
8. Specify the amount of memory assigned to the virtual machine.
9. Create network connections.
10. Select a SCSI adapter type.
11. Select the option Use an existing virtual disk when it comes to selecting virtual disk and click Next.
12. Click Browse to navigate to the location were the new vmdk is created and select it.
13. Complete the wizard and click Finish.
14. Power On the virtual machine. It now boots through the newly created vmdk