creating a test environment from a live ESX4 cluster
At my work place we use ESX4 in a 3 host cluster. We have a number of different VM's spread evenly across the cluster.
We have had ESX installed for about 6 months and I am relucantant to roll the new ESX4 U1 update on the production system whilst everything is working fine.
From a long time even before the ESX cluster I have struggled to create a test environment from the live system using tools like virtual box or VMware workstation. I am keen to give it another try though.
Due to constraints I wasn't able to create a test environment at install, I now have a bit of time to do this so I wanted to create a mini test environment on my laptop. I have workstation 7 installed with the latest updates and my processor is VT enabled which has allowed me to install ESX as a VM in workstation 7.
I now want to take a copy of one of our windows 2008 DC's which is a VM in our ESX cluster for me to do some tests in the isolated environment as well as some other servers to test integration, AD, exchange etc.
Using vcenter I clicked on a production VM which I wanted to take a copy of and created a clone of this.
I have now done this and as its a clone and its not powered on I assumed I would be able to take all the VM files (vmdk etc) from the datastore and copy it to a local hard disk but it wont allow me to do this. I get errors when I try to copy. I also noticed the clone VM i am trying to copy has a white icon which looks different to the online VM's. I assume this is correct because its a clone VM.
Does anyone have any suggestions on how best I could do this? If anyone has created a replica of their live systems in a test environment I am keen to see how you have done this. I am also aware that I should never plug this test laptop into the production network unless I have ensured the network is completely separate from the main network. If there are any other pointers I should be aware of please let me know.
Your advice is appreciated.