I think you are better off cloning your current PDM system to a test server and upgrading it. Do not mess with your production system.
@Michael/Tim - I think Robert is doing just that. I think he's asking how to repeat the upgrade process multiple times for testing purposes on his cloned copy (not the production system) without involving IT to put it back to the original cloned condition.
@Robert - I would think it possible to perform a restore of all of the backup files you are currently saving. Of course, it's been a long time since I've had to do that so I am fuzzy on the steps (and considering relearning it so I'm not stuck if/when I need to know it). I'd assume the file archives don't really need attention - it would be the databases and the PDM software itself.
The easiest way might be to buy the IT guy some donuts (or other social currency) and have him reclone the production system as you are currently doing. You might ask him to make you multiple VM's so you can more quickly repeat your testing without multiple requests for help.
I second Michael's recommendation.
My apologies, I misunderstood. I had tunnel vision this morning and wasn't listening. There I said it! Thanks Amos Avery for clearing that up.
Most VM visors can take snapshots of the environment itself so there is a history to rollback to just before upgrades. You shouldn't need to "re-clone" the environment, just roll back to the earlier snapshots. Once the environment is setup, IT doesn't need to touch it, it's all you.
I have also set up numerous VMs to simulate an entire mapping of all company servers across the US and had IT simulate the latency for all connections for testing AND demonstration purposes. In summary, what you are wanting to do shouldn't include re-cloning, just rolling back snapshots.