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Use Cloned volumes for dev SQL environment

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Use Cloned volumes for dev SQL environment

We have a SQL server with many different disks stored on different volumes.  I would like to use a clone of these volumes to setup a dev copy of this server for testing some upcoming upgrades.

I am unsure what the best way to go about this would be.  If I simply make clones of the volumes and then add the VM to inventory, the disks will all be pointing to the production disks, rather than the cloned ones.  I could edit the vmx but I'm a little uneasy doing this.

Would it work to simply clone the volumes, then create a new VM and then add the disks from the cloned volumes?  This seems to be safer than editing the vmx.

Perhaps someone on here has a good suggestion for me.  Thanks for reading.

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jcates98
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Re: Use Cloned volumes for dev SQL environment

It sounds like your data disks are attached using VMDKs on VMFS datastores, and you'd like to clone using the Nimble Zero Copy Clone functionality.  Does that sound right?  If so, I've done this previously using your idea of having a dedicated VM to which the cloned disks get attached.  It worked pretty well.

If you use the Nimble vCenter Plugin to do the datastore cloning, several of the steps are automated for you.  If you opt to do it manually or through an automated script, you'll need to:

1. Clone the volume backing the datastore

2. Rescan the host storage adapters to find the cloned volume (it inherits the parent volume's initiator group access controls)

3. Resignature the cloned VMFS volume

4. Optionally rename the cloned datastore, as VMware will prepend "snap-" to the datastore name.

As I said, the Nimble plugin will do all of this through the "clone" workflow.

Once you have a cloned datastore attached, you can simply edit the target VM and add a new disk.  Choose "existing disk", and browse to your newly cloned datastore to find the disk. Repeat as necessary.

Cheers!

Julian

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Re: Use Cloned volumes for dev SQL environment

You are correct, and thank you for your response.  I was trying to make sure there wasn't a better way to do it.  I understand fully how to do it from the Nimble side, I was more curious if there was a better way to achieve my goal.  It sounds like making a new VM and adding the cloned disks is the best path.

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Re: Use Cloned volumes for dev SQL environment

What happens if I add the VM to inventory from the cloned datastore?  What does that do to the other disks when they're on separate datastores to begin with?

I tested it with 1 VM that has 2 disks, and it seemed to automatically update both disks to be pointing to the cloned datastore automatically, but I'm curious how that would be handled when there are multiple disks on multiple datastores?