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recover vmware files from a failed raid 1 drive

Posted on 2013-10-24
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Last Modified: 2014-02-03
We had  vmware 5 loaded on a 500 gb raid 1 drive.   The raid array failed and the server wouldn't boot into vmware.  We tried to rebuild, etc.. but no luck getting the drive to boot.   We also tried to add the disk into another vmware install and I believe since it was a raid config that vmware didn't recognize that vmware was loaded on it.

I ran the diskinternals recovery just to see what it would find and it found all the windows files from the VMs, but didn't display the vmdk, vmx, and snapshot files which is what we are looking for.  

I tried a few more scans to try and locate the vmdk files, but so far no luck.

I have since turned to Linux (ubuntu) to try and mount the drive with VMFS tools and retrieve the data.  

Here is one article I have found.  Not sure if it applies to vmfs 5.

http://microitblog.com/micro-it-blog/2011/05/28/mounting-vmfs-with-ubuntu

When I try to mount the drive in Linux it tells me "unknown filesystem (ddf_raid_member)"

I tried to force mount the drive, but again it wants me to specify a file system.


I then tried setting up a raid config with mdadm.   It will let me build the array and the array shows online but degraded since I only have the one drive.   When I try to mount the array it says "you must specify the filesystem type".   Also an fdisk will show the drive, but nothing listed under filesystem type.

I'm using ubuntu 13.10 desktop.   Also I am a newbie when it comes to Linux.


Thanks.
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Question by:tiptechs
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LVL 118
ID: 39597061
There is one product we have had great success with called VMFS Recovery by Disk Internals.

http://www.diskinternals.com/vmfs-recovery/

If this is the product you have tested, when connected to a Windows computer, I would suggest contacting a Disaster Recovery Specialist such as Kroll Ontrack.

http://www.krollontrack.co.uk/

If you need to recover your virtual machines if you have no backup.
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by:tiptechs
ID: 39597079
diskinternals vmfs-recovery was the software that we tried.  It found all the files, but wouldn't display vmdk or snapshot files.   It is as if it read the vmdk files and displayed that data but wouldn't show the vmdk.

I can try the disk internals scan again if you think that should show you the vmdk files.

Thanks.
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LVL 118
ID: 39597089
It will show the vmdk files, if they can be recovered.
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by:compdigit44
ID: 39604267
Question, why are you using a Raid 1 which has Zero redundancy to begin with?
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compdigit44 earned 500 total points
ID: 39604281
Since a Raid 1 strips data across all drives your only options are to use a data recovery service like Krolls which does work and I have used it before but cost $$$

The other option is restore from a backup if you have one of your ESX server.
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