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I've been using Clonezilla to take images of a CentOS server and restore it to identical hardware. However I've found it impossible to restore these images to a VM and actually make the VM boot.

Is there software free or not that can do both cloning and restoring with hardware and one click restoring to a VM?

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    What VM host software are you going for? – Caleb Apr 30 '16 at 11:59
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Please be aware that if you move from GPT->MBR or MBR->GPT you can have some issues, but this is what I use: Mondo Rescue. Again, this is not one click but at least is almost partially automated.

Here is the steps that I used:

  1. Installed the software using the downloaded RPM's for Centos 6 (Running 6.6 Final).
  2. Created a script in /etc/cron.daily called backup
  3. Added the following comand mondoarchive -O -i -p BackupName -N -s 4608m -9 -d /var/cache/mondo >/var/log/modo.log 2>&1

This now has an ISO image on your server. I then FTP that ISO image to my RAID device for long term keeping. I wont show you that script as it's a windows box and a bat file.

I can then take this ISO and boot it in VMWare workstation and have a copy of my server at any time. I have used this to successfully move the environment from a Hyper-V area to a dedicated hardware.

Because you are using GNU/Linux, the advice Jan Doggen gave about drivers is slightly inaccurate. The only thing you may need to do in a worse case is to create a new initramfs image. See This Link for further information if you do so require.

Close to Single-Click

You could use another machine to script the download of the ISO and to run Virtual Box to boot up and install from that supplied ISO image. However, mondo does ask you "are you sure you want to nuke" so again, not 100% non-interactive. So this maybe 1-2 keystrokes for the restore into the VM.

Good luck.

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Not with one click. But kidding aside, it is very unlikely that this will work.

You cannot just move a disk image containing an operating system between two different machines - your VM is a different machine, with different drivers. If you are lucky and the machines resemble each other very much, you might get away with installing new drivers (but then it has to boot first).

And even then, if you're using Windows, it would need reactivating because of the changed 'hardware'.

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    -1 because of factually incorrect statement about this not being possible. This OP specifically noted they were using CentOS. Linux in general does not have either the driver or activation issues that Windows does and in many cases can actually be migrated across disparate hardware quite easily. The only trick here is getting the drive parameters setup such that converting the physical disk to a virtual disk image produces something a VM knows how to boot. – Caleb Apr 30 '16 at 11:58

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