This article, we will be setting up a few servers using the linked clone feature available in VirtualBox.
The reason I am using “linked” clones is because I am installing my lab environment on an SSD drive. Since I didn’t win the lottery or rob a bank, I am somewhat limited on the size of the SSD I can install the VMs on.
Below briefly explains what a full clone is compared to a linked clone. See Virtualbox.org for more information on the cloning process.
Full clone: In this mode all depending disk images are copied to the new VM folder. The clone can fully operate without the source VM.
Linked clone: In this mode new differencing disk images are created where the parent disk images are the source disk images. If you selected the current state of the source VM as clone point, a new snapshot will be created implicitly.
How to Setup Linked Clones
This article is part 6 of 6 in the series:
- Part 1: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Intro
- Part 2: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Configure Vbox
- Part 3: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Install pfSense
- Part 4: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Install Windows 2012 Base
- Part 5: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Prep for .vdi Compacting
- Part 6: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – Linked Clones
- Bonus: Building the Ultimate VirtualBox Lab – RDP to Virtual Machines
Setup a Linked Clone
- In VirtualBox, right click the Base VM and select Clone
- Name the VM to your Server naming conventions (I am going to simplify things and name this one DC_1 for Domain Controller)
- Select Reinitialize the MAC address
- Select Linked Clone
- Go into the Settings of the Linked Clone and select Hard Disk for the Boot Order
Power-on Your New Linked Clone
You can now start your Linked Clone VM.
Since we SysPrep’ed the Base VMs, the initial boot of the linked clones will go through the standard Windows startup / configuration steps.
Don’t forget you will need to re-setup your IPv4 Static address as well as name the server. I personally like to give the main/first server in my environment a .10 address (i.e. 192.168.1.10). For non-servers, I like to stick with DHCP.
— UPDATE 06/18/2013:
I ended up enabling Windows Update on all of the linked clones individually rather than on the base system. This is because each linked clone will be running something different (ie. WDS, Exchange, SCCM, SQL, etc…).