recover a VM with .vmdk files?

Hi all,

My VMware server appears to have a permanent disk issue, and sectors are no nolger readable so replacement is obvious. The problem is I want to get one machine off the system before it dies totally and certain key things like VMware being able to see the datastore are now broken, likely due to the read erros on the disk.

Looking at the file system the sym link to "store" points to a /vmfs/volumes directory that is no longer there. The only good news is the one machine I care about seems to still have some files under /vmfs/volumes and I was hoping there was :
1. a way to get them off the server -- SCP, FTP are not there and the file is 260gigs, or mount as a spare disk on a new system and copy over that way.
2. I am hoping the   .vmdk files are enough to import from.

Any leads would be appreciated. I do have an open filer SAN that I could create an NFS share and maybe copy things that way but how would I mount it so VMware ESXi can see it and would the files I have even be enough to recover from?

Doug Leece
l---------    0 root     root         1984 Jan  1  1970 store -> /vmfs/volumes/3abb47ef-875ea67c-c948-7bf6ff8d3c38
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          512 Jul  3 12:39 tmp
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          512 Jun 16 14:47 usr
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          512 Jun 16 14:47 var
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          512 Jun 16 14:47 vmfs
l---------    0 root     root         1984 Jan  1  1970 vmupgrade -> /locker/vmupgrade
/var/log # ls /store
/var/log # ls /store/
ls: /store/: No such file or directory
/var/log # ls -la /vmfs/volumes/3abb47ef-875ea67c-c948-7bf6ff8d3c38
ls: /vmfs/volumes/3abb47ef-875ea67c-c948-7bf6ff8d3c38: No such file or directory
/var/log # df -k
Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
unknown                 188336    122872     65464  65% /
unknown                4192960   1048960   3144000  25% /vmfs/volumes/4959340c-0f612a5a-980c-000d603f1e74
unknown              266862592 265865216    997376 100% /vmfs/volumes/4a4df4b1-351f3118-0537-00096b62f0e4
/var/log # ls /vmfs/volumes/4a4df4b1-351f3118-0537-00096b62f0e4
/var/log # ls /vmfs/volumes/4a4df4b1-351f3118-0537-00096b62f0e4/marge
marge_2-flat.vmdk  marge_2.vmdk
/var/log # ls -la /vmfs/volumes/4a4df4b1-351f3118-0537-00096b62f0e4
drwxr-xr-t    1 root     root         1120 May 30 18:55 .
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          512 Jul  3 13:19 ..
-r--------    1 root     root      1409024 May 30 18:50 .fbb.sf
-r--------    1 root     root     63143936 May 30 18:50 .fdc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root    255655936 May 30 18:50 .pbc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root    260374528 May 30 18:50 .sbc.sf
-r--------    1 root     root      4194304 Jul  3 12:08 .vh.sf
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          560 May 30 18:55 marge
/var/log # ls -la /vmfs/volumes/4a4df4b1-351f3118-0537-00096b62f0e4/marge
drwxr-xr-x    1 root     root          560 May 30 18:55 .
drwxr-xr-t    1 root     root         1120 May 30 18:55 ..
-rw-------    1 root     root    271656681472 Jun 17 09:48 marge_2-flat.vmdk
-rw-------    1 root     root          402 Jun 16 22:48 marge_2.vmdk

Open in new window

Who is Participating?
DLeeceConnect With a Mentor Author Commented:
Well it looks like this is one solution I will never get to test.  WinSCP etc did not work for getting the files off because this VMware EXSi wouldn't spin up a server. I did find a google posting that recomended creating  a symlink to /sbin/dropbearmulti  and I was indeed able to start pushing the file off the system to another Linux box.

The power went out before I was finished the transfer and when the VMware box came back the disk was unreadable all together so I have no files to try a restore with.  It's my personal lab stuff so no paying customers have been affected.  They of course would pay for UPS and raid systems so this would not likely be the case, but like the cobblers kids and mechanic's wife, everyone else gets the good stuff :-(

Thanks to the guys who signed in on this thread.
If it has SSH it should have SFTP.
I sftp to my servers all the time using WinSCP

Once you get them off you might be able to tell esx its a virtual appliance to get the import to work.  The options in vcenter on the file menu.  Worked for me in the past.

Use veeams FASTSCP ( ... much quicker for moving files than WinSCP. Using FASTSCP you can copy the vmdk to your local machine or to another ESX server.
The VMDK is the main file for you VM - you are correct. But the VMX file is equally important. However you can normally just create a new VM (with similar settings) and attach this disk to it. You may need to reconfigure networking in your VM, due to new MAC addresses being generated (all this is stored in the VMX file) if you end up creating a new VM and attaching the existing disk.
Good luck
Train for your Pen Testing Engineer Certification

Enroll today in this bundle of courses to gain experience in the logistics of pen testing, Linux fundamentals, vulnerability assessments, detecting live systems, and more! This series, valued at $3,000, is free for Premium members, Team Accounts, and Qualified Experts.

DLeeceAuthor Commented:
Hi ZA,

Turns out  sftp does not work on the VMware side but I found  you could symlink the sbin/dropbearmulti binary so scp and I could push the files off the server. Built an NFS share on my san and I am now pushing the 260 gigs across the lan.  

I will have to go buy a new drive and build a new vmware esxi server I guess.  HOpefully I can expoert most of the config so I don't neet to start completely from scratch.
I'm on the same line with Mikealcl, winscp should work just fine if ssh is running
If it is critical .. you should at least have a RAID 1 setup for your VMFS volume, so if one drive fails, your VM continues to run ... my 2p worth..
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.