Here is the long and short:

Goal: To clone a SharepointProd VM retaining all the webapps and sites in order to debug a custom solution.

We have two virtual machines: spTest and spProd. spTest is of a lower build version than spProd.

Since deploying and running a solution from Test to Prod is throwing errors, we decided to clone prod so we can use visual studio to debug the solution.

Cloning the server only takes care of the sharepoint server.

My question is; Would the cloned server use the same SQL2008 instance as the original?

If not, what are the steps I should be looking at?

Please advise.


if your SQL box is on a different box, and you only clone the SharePoint box, then yes, the newly cloned box will still reference the existing SQL box.

If this is ideal, then you might be all set. You may have some issues with server names and IPs though if you turn the clone on in the same network the actual production box is on.

I would lean towards cloning both if possible and put them on their own network. If you can't clone SQL, create a new SQL box, copy the DBs and then change the SQL alias on the clone server to point to the new box.


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    I would definitely NOT recommend pointing two separate SharePoint servers (that are not in the same farm) to the same SQL environment. You should copy the SQL environment if you are going to copy the SP one. – John Chapman Oct 11 '12 at 14:14
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    If you want to attempt the clone of the SharePoint machine, you could attempt the same for the SQL machine. For simplicity, after cloning both machines, if you turned off both production machines, you wouldn't need to rename them and it may work. – John Chapman Oct 11 '12 at 14:18
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    Sorry for the confusion. If you take a clone of production, and turn off production and turn on the clone, it will run, since nothing has changed. This is actually a method of backing up VM farms, to clone out each server for faster recovery. – David Lozzi Oct 11 '12 at 14:24
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    Anything you do in your clone will be reflected in the DB, since it's using the same DB. You would be better off cloning production, or creating a real staging environment which is a close mirror of production. It's more effort but in the long run, it's a better scenario. – David Lozzi Oct 11 '12 at 14:31
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    I am with you on the 'long run benefits' a 100%. The only reason(s) I want to do this is because, development was done by another company and we are just trying to deploy the wsp. Anf its for the same reason, that we only have a test and production box. So once we are done debugging on the clone we will fix it on the production box and be done with it. Hope this makes sense. Thanks again!! – user7400 Oct 11 '12 at 14:43

My suggestion to you would not be to "clone" the machine exactly. I would suggestion creating a new VM that has the same software installed as Production (same SP build, etc). Then make use the database attach method for migrating the content databases from your Prod SQL to Test SQL.

  • Thanks for the post. Two things here though: 1. Wouldnt it take lesser time to clone the server than install sharepoint (which includes the configuration overhead) on a brand new one. 2. Wouldnt I need to create a new SQL2008 instance for this as well? I am still under the impression that the cloned server would still refer to the same db that the original is refering to. Correct me if I am wrong here. – user7400 Oct 11 '12 at 14:10
  • Some issues you will run into with cloning is that only one machine of a particular name can exist on a domain. If you rename the cloned server, SharePoint will have issues. As far as I know, the only somewhat supported way of renaming a SharePoint server works only when configured in stand-alone mode when you installed it: technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261986.aspx – John Chapman Oct 11 '12 at 14:13
  • Thanks again. Could you please take a look at the thread I have going on with David for my explanation. – user7400 Oct 11 '12 at 14:47

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