With vRealize Automation, you can clone both Windows and Linux machines. Some preparation outside of vRealize Automation is required to create the template and the customization objects used to clone machines.

Cloning requires a template to clone from, created from a reference machine. You are not required to install the guest agent or the WMI agent, and you are not required to specify Visual Basic scripts. These options provide you with the ability to further configure machines provisioned from a clone template.

If you are provisioning a Windows machine by cloning, the only way to join the provisioned machine to an Active Directory domain is by using the customization specification from vCenter Server or including a guest operating system profile with your SCVMM template. Machines provisioned by cloning cannot be placed in an Active Directory container during provisioning. This must be done manually after provisioning.

Table 1. Preparing for Virtual Provisioning by Cloning Checklist




Check Box Identify or create the reference machine.


See the documentation provided by your hypervisor.

Check Box (Optional) Install the vRealize Automation guest agent on your reference machine to customize deployed machines.

Reference machine

See Using vRealize Automation Guest Agent in Provisioning.

Check Box (Optional) Install VMware Tools on the reference machine.

vCenter Server

See the VMware Tools documentation.

Check Box Use the reference machine to create a template for cloning.


The reference machine may be powered on or off. If you are cloning in vCenter Server, you can use a reference machine directly without creating a template.

See the documentation provided by your hypervisor.

Check Box Create the customization object to configure cloned machines by applying System Preparation Utility information or a Linux customization.


If you are cloning for Linux you can install the Linux guest agent and provide external customization scripts instead of creating a customization object. If you are cloning with vCenter Server, you must provide the customization specification as the customization object.

See the documentation provided by your hypervisor.

Check Box (Optional) If you installed and configured an EPI agent, specify Visual Basic scripts to run outside vRealize Automation as additional steps in the machine life cycle.

Machine where the EPI agent is installed

See Enabling Visual Basic Scripts in Provisioning.

Check Box (Optional) Install and enable a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) agent to collect certain data from a Windows machine managed by vRealize Automation, for example the Active Directory status of a machine’s owner.

Manager Service host

See Installation and Configuration.

Check Box (Optional) Run endpoint data collection to collect your templates immediately.

vRealize Automation

See Start Endpoint Data Collection Manually.

Gather information about your template and customizations and transfer it to the tenant administrators and business group managers who create blueprints.

  • Gather the following information so that tenant administrators and business group managers can include it in their blueprints:

    1. The name of the template.

    2. The name of the customization specification.

    3. The amount of total storage specified for the template.

    4. The reservations on which the template is available. Business group managers and tenant administrators are provided with a list of all templates on all reservations to choose from when creating a blueprint. vRealize Automation does not validate that the selected template exists on the reservation selected in the blueprint. To avoid errors during provisioning, ensure that the template is available on all reservations or create reservation policies that tenant administrators and business group managers can use to restrict the blueprint to reservations where the template is available.

    5. For vCenter Server integrations, the vCenter Server guest operating system version with which vCenter Server is to create the machine.

    6. (Optional) For SCVMM integrations, the ISO, virtual hard disk, or hardware profile to attach to provisioned machines.

  • If you have customization scripts for the Linux guest agent to run during provisioning, gather the following information for your tenant administrators and business group managers to include in their blueprints:

    1. The name of the customization script.

    2. Whether the location of the customization script is nfs or local.

    3. The name of the NFS server on which the customization script is located if it is not local.

    4. The local path to the customization path or the export path if the script is on an NFS server.


    You can create build profiles by using the property set LinuxExternalScriptProperties to provide the information for Linux customization scripts. Doing so makes it easier for tenant administrators and business group managers to include this information correctly in their blueprints.