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ESX 3.5 Datastore holding a VM dissapeared and is now Empty!

Posted on 2011-02-24
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hello,

Last week we installed a trial of esx server 3.i, 3.5.0, 207095

We converted on physical machine to a virtual and all was running fine until a day or so ago.

In the inventory column we no longer see the virtual machine, we see "unknown (inaccessible)" in its place.

I navitgate to "configuration/storage" and I no longer see the vmfs datastore we created for this virtual machine.

If I click "add storage" can choose "disk/lun" I can see the LUN number we were using for this datastore but it appears EMPTY!!  300GB capacity  299.99 GB available.

Any idea what has happended here and how/if I can recover?

Like I said, I can see the LUN in the HP EVA san, and I can see the Lun in configuration/storage/add storage" on the ESX server. The LUN just looks empty.

Thanks for your help!


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Question by:miteldatanet
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
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The reason for the unknown (inunaccessible) is because the datastore has been lost from the ESX3i server.

Do you know why it lost access and disappeared, no changes on the EVA?

I assume the access is via Fibre Channel?

When you added the LUN back, did it ask you to reformat?

In you use the databrowser on the LUN, do you see any folders?

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by:miteldatanet
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Yes, it is connected via fiber channel. No, the EVA has not been touched since the esx install.

I do not know why the datastore was lost. One day, the vm worked, the next day. The datastore holding the vm did not appear in the configuration/storage.

As far as adding the LUN back. I have not done this yet. I did not want to touch it at this point. I Just went in to "configuration/storage" and clicked "addstorage, selected Disk/LUN and stopped at this point. I can see the correct LUN number and storage size but it appears completely empty.

I canceled out of the add storage wizard at this point as I am hoping we can recover the vmfs.

Thanks for the help!
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by:paulsolov
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Make sure you use the same signature when adding the LUN back, otherwise it may overwrite it.  Also ensure that the EVA has been zoned (presented) correctly.  The LUN needs to only have access by the ESX host and not anything else.  I've seen situations where the same LUN was added to a Windows/Linux system by accident and resignatured making the VMs inaccessible.

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by:danm66
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http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1011385 explains what you might be seeing if you volume has resignatured:  http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1011385 at the bottom of the article is a link on how to go through the process to get the volume back into ESXi without data loss, if the volume was resignatured.
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by:miteldatanet
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danm66 - thank you for the link but this did not resolve the issue.
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danm66 earned 500 total points
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There are very few reasons why a datastore will "disappear".  resignatures, zoning issues, SAN failure and user error are about the only ones I know of.  

It appears that you've proved out that it wasn't a resignature issue.  Zoning doesn't seem to apply as you can still see/access the LUN.  Checking the SAN logs for errors will prove out the SAN's health.  So, that leaves the last option.  Like paulsolov said, perhaps it's possible this LUN was still being used by another system and someone saw that the SAN drive was inaccessible so they reformatted it???  

Can you check the zoning to see if there are any other systems that have access to this LUN?
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