In this post I will show you how to snapshot and clone an existing Azure or Azure Stack virtual machine in a few easy steps.

There are many reasons for taking snapshots. As a precaution before an update or change or to make clones of an existing virtual machine.

Also there is a big difference between a snapshot in Azure / Azure Stack and an image in Azure / Azure Stack. An image expects to be sysprep’d (generalized) where a snapshot is an exact point in time. Just wanted to take this opportunity to explain the difference.

For this article I have specifically chosen a Domain Controller to clone because its a complex use case.

As always, here is the official Microsoft guidance. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/windows/snapshot-copy-managed-disk

1 – Create a snapshot of the source virtual machine.

From within the Azure / Azure Stack portal. Select your virtual machine. On the disks blade, select the parent disk.

Then select Create Snapshot.

2 – Create a virtual disk from the snapshot

From within the Azure / Azure Stack portal. Select Disks and then select Add.

Complete the meta data and select the snapshot taken above as the source snapshot.

Note:- If using public Azure. Make sure you are creating the disk in the same region as the snapshot.

3 – Create a virtual machine from the virtual disk

From within the Azure / Azure Stack portal. Select Disks and then select the disk you created above. Select Create VM.

Complete all the necessary meta data and make the required configuration choices.

Note:- As we are cloning an existing Azure Virtual Machine, ensure you consider the networking implications. I’m sure you have 🙂

4 – Validate the result.

RDP or SSH into the virtual machine as you normally would.

Note:- As mine is a Windows Server I will use RDP. Notice how the internal server name is the same as the Domain Controller we took the snapshot from. A full clone.

An identical clone. All healthy and operational.

As always. I hope this helps.