Clone to VM vs Clone to Template in VMWare
Templates are pre-configured VMs used for multiple deployments. In other words, if you create a VM that you want to clone frequently, make that VM a template. Example: If you need multiple VMS with the same configuration, creating a template (creating master VMs) will save time and extra efforts. In this case, a master template with all basic setups will be created. The configuration file of a template will be *.vmtx rather than normal format *.vmx. The template typically includes a specified operating system and a configuration that provides virtual counterparts to hardware components. Optionally, a template can include an installed guest operating system and a set of applications. Templates are used by vCenter Server to create new virtual machines. The template cannot be powered on or edited.
Cloning a VM meaning creating a duplicate copy of original VM. You also have the option to use guest operating system customization to change some of the properties of the clone, such as the computer name and networking settings. The source VM, in this case, will be called as parent VM. According to official documentation from VMWare “A clone is a copy of a virtual machine. A template is a master copy of a virtual machine that can be used to create many clones. “
Creating a clone or template, the resulting cloned virtual machine is independent of the original VM.