Cloning from a given point in the snapshot tree

VirtualBox.png

Although we have just released VirtualBox 4.3, this quick blog entry is about a longer standing ability of VirtualBox when it comes to Snapshots and Cloning, and was prompted by a question posed internally, here in Oracle: "Is there a way I can create a new VM from a point in my snapshot tree?".

Here's the scenario: Let's say you have your favourite work VM which is Oracle Linux based and as you installed different packages, such as database, middleware, and the apps, you took snapshots at each point like this:

Base system

But you then need to create a new VM for some other testing or to share with a colleague who will be using the same Linux and Database layers but may want to reconfigure the Middleware tier, and may want to install his own Apps. All you have to do is right click on the snapshot that you're happy with and clone:

Give the VM that you are about to create a name, and if you plan to use it on the same host machine as the original VM, it's a good idea to "Reinitialize the MAC address" so there's no clash on the same network:

Now choose the Clone type. If you plan to use this new VM on the same host as the original, you can use Linked Cloning else choose Full. 

At this point you now have a choice about what to do about your snapshot tree. In our example, we're happy with the Linux and Database layers, but we may want to allow our colleague to change the upper tiers, with the option of reverting back to our known-good state, so we'll retain the snapshot data in the new VM from this point on:

The cloning process then chugs along and may take a while if you chose a Full Clone:

Finally, the newly cloned VM is ready with the subset of the Snapshot tree that we wanted to retain:

Pretty powerful, and very useful. 

Cheers,

-FB 

Comments:

As a bonus, the file size for newly cloned vm is often reduced after cloning, requiring less host HD space. My XP inet browsing vm typically goes from 2.5 GB down to 1.8 GB after cloning ops. Another bonus, I take frequent snapshots as I am learning Unix via vm. I feel confident while butchering the system using everything from iptables to editing the config files. If the vm becomes unbootable, I simply restore to the prior good snapshot and continue with my toying. Once I get it tweaked, I clone a copy to a template dir for later pickup. Before vBox it was... ah fa'get about it, we all know what those days were like. Is it wrong for me to love vBox as much as I do? Thank you Larry & FB for keeping this excellent product going strong!

Posted by Steve on January 10, 2014 at 04:12 PM GMT #

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