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Recovering Data from Windows Server 2012 R2 Virtual Disks with Failed Disk (VMDK)

Posted on 2014-11-06
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
I have a Windows Server 2012 R2 File Server that is a VM off on a VSAN cluster Host running ESXi 5.5. The Server consisted of 4 Physical Disks, and 1 Virtual DIsk that combined 3 Physical Disks together.

   1) Physical OS Disk 100GB (C: Drive)
   2) Virtual File Share Disk 5.25 TB (D: Drive) - Configuration is Simple
     2a) Physical File Share Disk-1 1.75 TB
     2b) Physical File Share Disk-2 1.75 TB
     2c) Physical File Share Disk-3 1.75 TB

The VMDK for Physical Disk 2c was deleted and is deemed unrecoverable. That's fine, I'll make do. What I am curious about is how I can try to recover any data from the remaining 2 Physical Disks from the Virtual Disk on Windows Server 2012. I have attempted disk repair and other Powershell commands and methods described by numerous articles, none of which have done anything. Is there a way I can try to recover anything from these two disks that doesn't involve paying out the nose to some company that may or may not have any idea how to accomplish this?

The added complexity here is that the Datastore in question is a VMware VSAN, which according to nearly every source I have encountered has stated that as cool as the VSAN is, it is unforgiving when it comes to recovering data from it, which is why the impetus for me has been recovering anything from the two disks versus chasing my tail trying to get the deleted VMDK back. Below is the configuration of the Host equipment that houses the File Server.

3 - Dell PowerEdge 720XDs,
    HDD - Each host has 5 - 4 TB 7200rpm SATA Disks
    SSD - Each host has 1 - 960 GB SSD
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Question by:derekrmoore
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by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 166 total points
ID: 40427498
If this was the configuration.

1 Virtual DIsk that combined 3 Physical Disks together.

If the data is important, stop what you are doing and escalate and call Kroll Ontrack.

http://www.krollontrack.com/

(and as for vSAN, it's very early days!)
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by:Frosty555
Frosty555 earned 167 total points
ID: 40427758
You're in big trouble here. You essentially had the virtual equivalent of a RAID0 array of three disks, and you lost the third disk.

If the D: drive was a spanned volume created in Windows, the saving grace here is that the data is written sequentially to the disks, unlike RAID-0 that stripes/interleaves the data evenly across all three disks. So there's some potential to recover *some* amount of logical data from the remaining two disks.

But you need professional data recovery services if the data is important.
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Ron Martin earned 167 total points
ID: 40427764
If these are stand-alone volumes, you can use Windows VMDK reader tools to get the data off the disks by using windows tools  
http://www.running-system.com/how-to-mount-a-vmdk-file-under-windows/

OR, you can attach the vmdk's to other servers and then move the data.

but if you used any raid in the vm then yes you may be at a loss. (why anyone would build a virtual raid array is beyond me)
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