Similar to the Cross vCenter vMotion (xVC-vMotion) feature that was introduced in vSphere 6.0, Virtual Machine cloning can also be performed across two different vCenter Servers, regardless of their deployment type or SSO configurations. If vCenter Servers are part of an Enhanced Linked Mode (ELM), then a xVC-Clone operation can be initiated using the vSphere Web Client. However, if the vCenter Servers are not part of the same SSO Domain, then you will need to use the vSphere API to perform the operation similar to an xVC-vMotion.

Right before the holiday break, I had a few inquiries on providing some sample code that could demonstrate the Cross vCenter Clone (xVC-Clone) operation using the vSphere API. With that, I have created a new PowerCLI script called xNew-VM.ps1 which does exactly that and should feel familiar for anyone who has used my xMove-VM.ps1 script before. Before getting started, be sure to familiarize yourself with the requirements and supported configurations for xVC-Clone operations, which can be found here and here.

The script contains a number of variables that will need to be defined based on your specific environment. The following variables below pertain to the "source" vCenter Server from where you wish to initiate the clone operation from:

$sourcevmname = "PhotonOS-02"
$sourceVC = ""
$sourceVCUsername = "administrator@vsphere.local"
$sourceVCPassword = "VMware1!"

The following variables below pertain to the "destination" vCenter Server from where the cloned VM will be deployed to:

$destvmname= "PhotonOS-02-Clone"
$destVC = ""
$destVCUsername = "administrator@vsphere.local"
$destVCpassword = "VMware1!"
$datastorename = "vsanDatastore"
$datacenter = "Datacenter-SiteB"
$cluster = "Santa-Barbara"
$resourcepool = "MyRP" # cluster property not needed if you are using RP, useful for VMware Cloud on AWS
$vmhostname = ""
$vmnetworkname = "VM Network"
$foldername = "Discovered virtual machine"
$switchtype = "vss"
$poweron = $false #optional
$snapshotname = "pristine" #optional

The last two variables are optional which merely controls whether the cloned VM is powered on and whether the source VM is being cloned while running, in which case, a snapshot is required.

Below is a screenshot of my two vCenter Servers, where vcenter65-1 is my "Source" and vcenter65-3 is my "Destination. I have a VM called PhotonOS-02 which is powered on and I have already taken a snapshot which I have named "pristine". I will then perform a xVC-Clone of the VM to the "Destination" vCenter Server and the new VM will be called "PhotonOS-02-Clone".

Once you have updated the script, you can simply execute it as shown in the screenshot below.

If we now head back over to our vSphere Web/H5 Client, we should now see the xVC-Clone operation start and shortly after (depending on the size of the VM being cloned), it should eventually appear on the destination vCenter Server that was specified in the script.

For quick and small deployments of a few VMs, the xVC-Clone feature can be quite handy. However, if you plan to deploy more than a couple of VMs, it would be more efficient to setup a vSphere Content Library which can configured to automatically sync all or specific content to the destination vCenter Server(s), which will help speed up deployment. I should also point out that cloning from vSphere 6.5+ from onPrem to VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) also works and is fully supported in both direction which the vMotion/Provisioning PM had just shared with me. For VMC usage, you will need to ensure you specify the Compute-ResourcePool as the permission model in VMC is restrictive and you can not deploy directly to the vSphere Cluster and/or ESXi host.

Lastly, as mentioned earlier, the script I have provided is merely an example demonstrating the use of the xVC-Clone operation using the vSphere API and consuming it through PowerCLI. Unlike the Move-VM cmdlet which supports xVC operation natively, the New-VM does not currently support xVC-Clone. If you would like to see this natively supported as part of PowerCLI's New-VM cmdlet, be sure to add a +1 to PowerCLI Feature Request here.

One thought on “Cross vCenter Clone with vSphere 6.0+

  1. Cool! I upvoted the feature request. I really wanted this so I could propagate updated VM templates to our many different vCenters and the web client in 6.0 seriously blows chunks. Thanks for putting the sample script code together!

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