Introduction to Instant Clone

During a keynote session VMware announced the technology working behind Instant Clones (Fargo/VMFork) that allows a running Virtual Machine to be forked to a child clone. Initially this child clone will use real memory and disk space of the parent and later on once write to the memory or disk starts, it starts storing this data in delta space. As Instant clone forks a running VM, the clones can be created very quickly in comparison to VMware View Composer. Horizon 7 is the first VMware product to use VMFork. Using Instant Clone Technology, Administrator can parent virtual machine whenever new desktops are needed, just in time for a user to log in. The desktop created using Instant Clone are completely stateless and the desktop gets refreshed once the user log off.

Characteristics of Instant Clone

  1. The provisioning of instant clones is faster than View Composer linked clones.
  2. Instant clones are always created in a powered-on state, ready for users to connect to.
  3. When a user logs out, the desktop VM is deleted.
  4. With the push-image operation, you can re-create the pool from any snapshot of any parent VM.
  5. View storage accelerator is automatically enabled.
  6. Transparent page sharing is automatically enabled.

Instant Clone requirements

  1. vSphere 6.0 Update 1 or later.
  2. Virtual machine hardware version 11 or later.

Benefits of Instant Clone Technology over View Composer Clones

  1. Virtual Desktop prepared using Instant Clone do not need to be refreshed, recomposed or re-balanced. Instant cloned virtual desktops gets deleted and recreated from latest patch once user logs out. Thus eliminating boot storms, which reduce storage IOPS requirement and generating less load on the vCenter Server.
  2. In case of Instant Clone Technology, CBRC ( Content-Based Read Cache) is no more required as the instant cloned desktops are short-lived and gets deleted once the user log out.
  3. Generally, SEsparse wipe-and-shrink sweeps and frees up unused blocks. This operation is also no more required for Instant cloned desktops as desktops either gets deleted or re-imaged after user logged out.
  4. Unlike View Composer, Instant Clone Technology does not need a database, which greatly simplifies the Horizon 7 architecture.

Limitations of Instant Clones

  1. RDS hosts are not supported.
  2. Windows 7 and Windows 10 are supported but not Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.
  3. Only floating user assignment is supported. Users are assigned random desktops from the pool.
  4. IPv6 is not supported.
  5. Instant-clone desktops cannot have persistent disks.
  6. Sysprep is not available for desktop customization.
  7. Instant clones cannot reuse existing computer accounts in Active Directory.
  8. Persona Management is not available.
  9. 3D rendering is not available.


Instant Clones are a great new feature in Horizon 7 and provisions desktops in much lesser time than Linked Clones. Instant clones bring the advantages like reducing boot storms, lesser provisioning time and lesser store utilization. I hope this will be informative for you. Do share if you find this in social media if you find this information worth sharing. Thanks for visiting. Happy learning :-).


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    The views and opinions expressed on this blog are my own and does not reflect the views and opinions of my employer.