It sounds like your data disks are attached using VMDKs on VMFS datastores, and you'd like to clone using the Nimble Zero Copy Clone functionality. Does that sound right? If so, I've done this previously using your idea of having a dedicated VM to which the cloned disks get attached. It worked pretty well.
If you use the Nimble vCenter Plugin to do the datastore cloning, several of the steps are automated for you. If you opt to do it manually or through an automated script, you'll need to:
1. Clone the volume backing the datastore
2. Rescan the host storage adapters to find the cloned volume (it inherits the parent volume's initiator group access controls)
3. Resignature the cloned VMFS volume
4. Optionally rename the cloned datastore, as VMware will prepend "snap-" to the datastore name.
As I said, the Nimble plugin will do all of this through the "clone" workflow.
Once you have a cloned datastore attached, you can simply edit the target VM and add a new disk. Choose "existing disk", and browse to your newly cloned datastore to find the disk. Repeat as necessary.
You are correct, and thank you for your response. I was trying to make sure there wasn't a better way to do it. I understand fully how to do it from the Nimble side, I was more curious if there was a better way to achieve my goal. It sounds like making a new VM and adding the cloned disks is the best path.
What happens if I add the VM to inventory from the cloned datastore? What does that do to the other disks when they're on separate datastores to begin with?
I tested it with 1 VM that has 2 disks, and it seemed to automatically update both disks to be pointing to the cloned datastore automatically, but I'm curious how that would be handled when there are multiple disks on multiple datastores?