Hot and Cold Cloning in a Virtualized Environment


Setting up a virtualized work environment often calls for enterprises to contract with a managed services provider who can keep the system running properly once it has been fully installed.  Businesses that prefer to use their in-house IT staff for this function will still want to work with a skilled IT consulting firm that can assist them in making the initial transition to virtualization.  This is true whether the enterprise has chosen to use Hyper-V or VMware as their primary virtualization platform. 

One of the decisions that such IT consultants can help the enterprise to make involves the choice of cloning technology to be employed during the transition itself.  The two types of replication available are known as cold cloning and hot cloning.  Each refers to the procedures used to transfer physical workloads into virtual machines.  What they have in common is their use of a virtual disk image to make the transition.

Hot Cloning

In a hot cloning transition, the physical server remains online while the disk image is being created and uploaded onto one of the newly established virtual servers.  By keeping the physical server active during the transition, workflow is not disrupted, which means that the process has lower costs in terms of lost productive hours for employees and managers.  On the other hand, active use during the process means that some files may change after the disk image has been created but before the transition has been completed.

Cold Cloning

In a cold cloning transition, data is transitioned while the physical server is disconnected.  This eliminates file-change issues but means downtime for the enterprise involved. 


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