URGENT - Recovering data from orphaned .VMDK files in ESX Server 3.5

Posted on 2010-01-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
have a really messed up scenario with a Windows 2003 Server Virtual Machine running on VMWare ESX Server 3.5

The Story:
1)Overnight, the Datastore that 2 of my VMs run from filled.
2) I moved all of the files for one of the VMs (VM1 - our main Database server) to another datastore, using VeemFastSCP, removed it from the inventory in Infrastructure Client and registered it from the new location.
3) On startup - Poweron failed giving me a file Not Found Error.
4) The files present were as follows:
VM1.VMDK (165GB)
VM1000001.VMDK  (5GB)
VM1000002.VMDK (17MB)
VM1000003.VMDK (50GB)
VM1000004.VMDK (50 GB)
VM1000005-delta.VMDK (31 GB)
VM1000006.VMDK (32 GB)
VM1000007.VMDK (23GB)
VM1000008.VMDK (500MB)
VM1000009.VMDK (50 GB)
5) I took a look at the Hard Disk of the VM and it's Disk File was set to VM1000009.VMDK
6) In a panic - I changed the disk file location to VM1.VMK and powered on. The VM powered up, and the guest OS started, but on investigation, all the files very as of the 16Dec09!
7)since this VM is a SQL server, and I have seperate, hourly file backups of all my databases that run on it, i decided to just run a quick restore on all my databases - with the previous night's data. That worked fine and I was able to get all my users back on-line.
8) However, one of our apps dumps raw data text files onto a fileshare on the VM. I have now lost all the files that were created since the 16th Dec.
9) To compound issues, I had overwritten my filebased backup of this server before I noticed the missing files!

My Question:
Does anyone know if it's possible to recoved the data from these now orphaned .VMDK files?

any help would be greatly appreciated.
Question by:lanson
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 26210909
If you have no backups of the VMDKs and their snapshot files ... the only way to get some of the data out of the snapshot vmdks (and I don't know how you would do this) would be use a disk recovery tool or something that could mount VMDK files. I came across this post so hope it can help you ... but you may be out of luck ...
LVL 24

Expert Comment

ID: 26211336
Well dont delete them!
You are not supposed to point it the master VM1.VMDK, the behavior is normal when you do snapshots, original vmdk will not be touched and change to read only the moment you take snapshot, that is why you can normally copy/download the main vmdk file as the file is no longer locked by vmfs, any changes will be written to delta file instead
so instead of something like this scsi:0.filename = "VM1.VMDK" it is now like this scsi:0.filename = "VM1000009.VMDK"

For your case, try fixing the CID chains
Refer to this http://redshift10.blogspot.com/2008/04/vmdk-snapshots-and-importance-of-cid.html

Read it slowly I'm sure there are still hope, i had fixed the similar issue for few customers, it worked great! Hopefully it can solve your problem

Author Comment

ID: 26212689
ryder0707 - the problem is that vm1.vmdk has been running live now as the main vmdk, for 2 days.
I presume fixing the cid chain won't work since the vm1.vmdk had been updated?
Concerto's Cloud Advisory Services

Want to avoid the missteps to gaining all the benefits of the cloud? Learn more about the different assessment options from our Cloud Advisory team.

LVL 24

Accepted Solution

ryder0707 earned 2000 total points
ID: 26212912
aaah yeah that does make a difference...hmm no clue what will happen after that
If i were in your situation i will still try though, copy all files to a test directory and fix the chain, register as different VM, disconnect the adapter from network and start it just to see what happen, hopefully if commit the latest snapshot it can magically merge somehow but this is only my imagination, or do a V2V after fixing the chain and hopefully vmware converter can consolidate the snapshot
sorry mate i have no other idea, if you think the data is too important you may want to pay vmware for per incident support

Expert Comment

ID: 26272857
You may want to duplicate your remaining files to another folder or datastore, then create a new vm using the original disk as the boot image. Leave off a network adapter so you have no conflicts with the existing vm. I would then attempt to fix any cid issues and see if you can get that to boot.

Author Comment

ID: 26304120
out of luck i'm afraid. the CID fix didn't work and I raise a call with VMWare.
It's impossible to recover once the parent .vmdk is modified.

Featured Post

What is SQL Server and how does it work?

The purpose of this paper is to provide you background on SQL Server. It’s your self-study guide for learning fundamentals. It includes both the history of SQL and its technical basics. Concepts and definitions will form the solid foundation of your future DBA expertise.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

In this article, I will show you HOW TO: Suppress Configuration Issues and Warnings Alert displayed in Summary status for ESXi 6.5 after enabling SSH or ESXi Shell.
It’s time for spooky stories and consuming way too much sugar, including the many treats we’ve whipped for you in the world of tech. Check it out!
Teach the user how to edit .vmx files to add advanced configuration options Open vSphere Web Client: Edit Settings for a VM: Choose VM Options -> Advanced: Add Configuration Parameters:
In this video tutorial I show you the main steps to install and configure  a VMware ESXi6.0 server. The video has my comments as text on the screen and you can pause anytime when needed. Hope this will be helpful. Verify that your hardware and BIO…
Suggested Courses

840 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question