Cloning a SQL Server Virtual Machine with TDE

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Question :

When a virtual machine with a SQL Server database that uses TDE is copied or cloned, will the database be readable on the new instance?

Answer :

Yes, cloning or copying a VM should not make a database using TDE unreadable or unavailable on the new cloned VM.

If you check the Move a TDE Protected Database to Another SQL Server doc, which by the way is not specifically what you’re trying to do, but lists the restrictions that could cause a TDE database unable to be decrypted on a different server, you’ll see that none of the Limitations and Restrictions rules are broken when copying or cloning a VM.

Every “piece” needed to decrypt the database is going to be copied along with the VM and everything shall be at the same place within the new VM.

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