With the Instant Clone technology, you can create powered on virtual machines from the running state of another powered on virtual machine. The result is a new virtual machine that is identical to the source virtual machine.

With Instant Clone you can create new virtual machines from a controlled point in time. Instant cloning is very convenient for large scale application deployments because it ensures memory efficiency and allows for creating numerous virtual machines on a single host.

The result of an Instant Clone operation is a virtual machine that is called a destination virtual machine. The processor state, virtual device state, memory state, and disk state of the destination virtual machine are identical to those of the source virtual machine. To avoid network conflicts, you can customize the virtual hardware of the destination virtual machine during an Instant Clone operation. For example, you can customize the MAC addresses of the virtual NICs or the serial port configurations of the destination virtual machine. vSphere 7.0 and later does not support customization of the guest OS of the destination virtual machine. For information about manual guest OS customization, see the vSphere Web Services SDK Programming Guide.

During an Instant Clone operation, the source virtual machine is stunned for a short period of time, less than 1 second. While the source virtual machine is stunned, a new writable delta disk is generated for each virtual disk and a checkpoint is taken and transferred to the destination virtual machine. The destination virtual machine then powers on by using the source's checkpoint. After the destination virtual machine is fully powered on, the source virtual machine also resumes running.

Instant Cloned virtual machines are fully independent vCenter Server inventory objects. You can manage Instant Cloned virtual machines like regular virtual machines without any restrictions.

Starting with vSphere 7.0, you can Instant Clone a virtual machine only through the API calls.

For information about Instant Clone, see the vSphere Web Services SDK Programming Guide.