ESXI 5.1

EES2020
EES2020 used Ask the Experts™
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Hello,

After a major storm that knocked out power for miles, I come to notice our esxi server no longer works. I am getting the nasty purple screen of death.

With the following error.
the system has found a problem on your machine and cannot continue
Could not mount /dev: Not found

In an attempt to try to upgrade, the installer warned that it could not save my datastore and that I should move the data to another datastore. But I dont know how without an operating esxi.

Please tell me theres a fix for this. If not how can I pull the data from the machine. I realized the latest backups that I have were on one of the VMs not yet transferred off :(

Thanks
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Zephyr ICTCloud Architect

Commented:
Could not mount /dev: Not found
Now, hopefully I'm wrong, but this could mean that your filesystem/installation got corrupted or perhaps even mean a crashed disk or damaged parition...

So the question is, even if you were able to retrieve VM's of the datastore, will they be ok or also corrupted....

I'm guessing this is a standalone ESXi server with local storage?? How is the storage configured, RAID1/10/5/6?

Author

Commented:
Hi spravtek

It is a RAID 10 setup. The G8 server did not report any kind of raid failure. And you are correct, this is a standalone Esxi server.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Check

1. RAID Configuration is correct with ACU.

2. Where did you install ESXi ?

on the disks ? on the array ? on a USB flash card/SD card?

3. Do you have backups of VMs ?
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Author

Commented:
Hi Andrew
This is a production server that has been running fine since 2013. The RAID array is healthy. Configuration is fine.  The ESXI is installed on the array. Sadly, the backups resided in that datastore---mistake.....the sheer size and nature of the Vms made dealing with the data problematic.
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
Try inserting a USB flash drive or SD card into the Host, and installing it, does it give the same error about overwriting datastore.

another method, is to prepare a USB flash drive/SD card in another computer, and then plug in the USB flash  . drive or SD card, and see if you can get ESXi to boot. They check if there are valid datastores.

You have tried Recovery Mode, Shift-R at the ESXi startup?

otherwise, you will have to look at recovery route.

Author

Commented:
I mean I can see the drive that contains my VMFS volume member. It reports at /dev/sda1
So I dont understand why Esxi is reporting it cant mount /dev: not found

Author

Commented:
Yes, I tried recovery mode, all it says is there are no other hypervisors avail. Im going to try the two methods you suggested. The second one just might work. Thanks.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
ESXi does boot ?

you can get on the console ?
Zephyr ICTCloud Architect

Commented:
Yes, I'm with Andrew for the idea to boot of a USB stick with ESXi installed on it, or try to re-install ESXi via USB and see if it can find the datastore...

Could you perhaps get a screenshot of the purple screen?

Author

Commented:
Andrew, I followed your second option. I got a new exsi booted from USB and was able to see the data perfectly. Clever on the datastore. I don't know why it didn't come to mind! The original esxi install must have been very corrupt to not want to upgrade!!! High volume office and the server is too expensive to replicate. So it ran 5.1 for 2 years.

Thanks again, you saved me 50,000 dollars or more. Must be more safe and more redundant. Lesson learned big time.

Author

Commented:
Thanks both of your efforts for helping me. It was a highly stressful situation.

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