Sharing VMs with Other Users

Commander and Service Portal users can share exact copies of their VMs with other users and groups. Service Portal users can also share VMs with their organization. If a tester has reproduced a bug discovered during testing, for example, they can share the exact VM configuration with a developer, speeding up the bug fixing process.

VM sharing is supported only for vCenter VMs.

Service Portal users can also request a clone of one of their VMs. See Requesting VM Clones in the Service Portal User Guide.

How does VM sharing work?

When a Service Portal or Commander user clicks Share VM, the Share VM dialog appears. Once the user fills out the form and clicks OK:

  • a VM snapshot is created
  • a service catalog entry based on the snapshot is created, visible only to administrators and the email recipients, with (Shared) appended to the service name
  • an email is sent to each recipient (if this option was selected)

When a recipient clicks the hyperlink in the email, they must log in (if they're not already logged in).

The recipient can also simply click Request New Service to see the shared VM in the service catalog.

The recipient fills in the New Service Request form and submits the request. Note that because a snapshot is taken when the VM is shared, the requester can't change the CPU or memory resources.

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.

You can create a completion workflow that specifically targets shared VMs.

Required Service Portal permissions

Service Portal users must have the Easy Share permission to share VMs. Recipients must have the Request New Service permission.

Sharing a VM

Access through:

Views menu > Inventory > Infrastructure or Applications > Tree OR Virtual Machines tab

Available to:

Administrator or Operator Access Rights

To share a VM with other users:

  1. Right-click a VM in the tree or in a table and select Provisioning > Share VM.
  2. The Share VM dialog appears. The fields and options are described in the following table:

    Option

    Description

    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.

    If you specify a Directory Services group that is 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 are not 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.

    This option is not 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.

    Comments

    Enter additional comments that will be included in the email.

  3. Click OK.

    A VM snapshot is created and the service is added to the Service Catalog.

Example

Here's an example to show you how fields in the Share VM dialog affect what recipients see. Note that Commander users can't share with members of an organization; this Share VM dialog shows what a Service Portal user would see.

Share VM dialog

share-vm-dialog

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-portal2

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

It's not possible to edit a shared service catalog entry.

Troubleshooting

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.