Sharing VMs with Other Users in the Service Portal

You can share exact copies of your vCenter VMs with other users and groups as well as with your organization. For example, if a tester has discovered a bug during testing, they can share the exact VM configuration with a developer to speed up the bug fixing process. From the Actions drop-down menu, select Requests, Share VM to open the Share VM dialog.

share VM

Once you have completed the form and clicked Share, a VM snapshot is created. A service catalog entry based on the snapshot (visible only to administrators and the recipients) is added, with (Shared) appended to the service name.

If the Send Email option is selected, an email is sent to each recipient. The recipient can click the hyperlink in the email or Request New Service to request the shared VM in the service catalog.

share VM email

The recipient fills in a New Service Request form and submits the request.

The requester can't change the CPU or memory resources, because a snapshot is taken when the VM is shared.

From then on, the process continues as with any other new service request. Workflows and automated provisioning settings apply to requests for shared VMs just as for any other new service request.

Sharing a VM

To share a VM with other users:

  1. From the Actions drop-down menu, select Requests, Share VM.
  2. The Share VM dialog appears. The options are described in the following table:



    Service Name

    The name for the service in the Service Catalog. The Service Name is also included at the top of the email. This field is prepopulated with the name of the shared VM. It's helpful to provide a different name, so that the two tabs of the New Service Request Form don't have the same labels.

    Service Description

    Enter a description for the service. The description appears in the Service Catalog and in the email.

    Share With

    Select All users in organization to share with your entire organization.

    Select Specific users to share with specific users or groups. Enter a user name or group name and click Add. You can add as many recipients as you like.

    NotePencil-small If you specify a Directory Services group that's a member of an organization, the email is sent to the email address for the group.

    Preserve Memory State

    If the VM is running or suspended, you can save the VM's memory state. Saving the memory state is useful for debugging memory-specific problems but increases the overall deployment time.

    Keep Existing Owners

    By default, the existing owners of the source VM aren't kept as owners on VMs deployed from the shared service. Enable this option if you want to keep the owners of the source VM as owners of the deployed VM.

    Days Available

    Once a shared service's availability has lapsed, it's removed from the Service Catalog and can no longer be requested. In-progress service requests are unaffected.

    NotePencil-small This option isn't related to a VM's expiry date.

    Send Email

    By default, emails are sent to all recipients. Disable this option if you don't want to send emails. Users will still see the shared service in their Service Catalog.

    Email Subject

    Enter a subject line for the email.


    Enter additional comments that will be included in the email.

  3. Click Share.

    A VM snapshot is created and the service is added to the Service Catalog, visible to the users you shared it with.


If the snapshot used to create the shared service is deleted, the Service Catalog entry is disabled and no longer visible to users. You must share the VM again.

If a user sees the following message after clicking the hyperlink in a Shared Service email:

The requested service is not available at this time using your current security context. Please contact the sharing user or system administrator for more details.

There are a few possible reasons for this message:

  • The service availability may have lapsed. Once the availability has lapsed, users can no longer request the service.
  • The service may have been deleted. An administrator may have deleted the service before its availability lapsed.
  • The user may have logged in with a different username, or logged into a different organization. If the user who shared the VM was a member of an organization and shared the VM with their organization, recipients must log in as members of that organization.

If a user is taken to the Service Portal home page after clicking the hyperlink in a Shared Service email, it's possible that they don't have permission to request a new service.

You can share a single VM in a fenced network. The requested VM is deployed as a new fenced service with the same network settings as the source VM. It's not possible to share multiple VMs from a fenced network as a new fenced network, to share an entire fenced network, or to share a VM into an existing fenced network.