VMWARE datastore VM hard drive recovery

I have a dell esxi5.5 server hosting 5 VM's for a large client.

One of the VM has a dedicated datastore that is utilized for the company's software. The software is a proprietary software from a company in the midwest that basically runs the business. It uses Oracle database and starting this morning the software could not load the database.

The company worked on it for 5 hours and finally oracle told them that it was an 'undefined windows error' and that they could not help me.

The server was running fine other than the oracle database for the software. I checked event viewer and nothing serious.

I got desperate and did a bare metal backup to yesterday when it was working. The backup recovery continues to fail. Arcserve is the backup manager.

Now I have no server and a failing backup.

I do see that alot of data is still taking up space on the datastore when i view it in vmware.

Is it possible to extract and move the data from the datastore in vmware or is their another way of recreating the server now that it is lost?

I am full of pressure to get it done by midnight and am needing some serious help.

Thanks in advance
GetDuplicatedAsked:
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LesterClaytonCommented:
The biggest problem with Oracle and backing up virtual machines at a bare metal level is the fact that they are not crash consistent backups.  Oracle - and other "proprietory" database applications like Domino do not have an VSS writer, nor the ability to quiesce the database ready for taking a snapshot, meaning that all snapshots taken are effectively the same as turning the server off without shutting it down correctly.  Databases are not cleanly shut down, and in some cases, have some kind of corruption due to a write operation that was aborted.

The above paragraph was just explaining why you would get in a situation like this.  Your VHDX files contain your data.  In a worst case scenario, you can attach the VHDX file to another server, mount the volume (standard mount using Ddiskmgmt.msc - which may have been done automatically for you), and then copy the files, but it seems to me that if the source files are corrupt (and preventing Oracle from starting), this won't be of much benefit to you.

To answer another of your questions - yes, you can create a new virtual machine, and then attach the existing VHDX file from what was your old server to the new server as the first and only disk - the OS will boot and see the drive just as the previous server did.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
can you screenshot the VM Folders on the VMFS datastore, and we will see what data we have.

if you have VMDK files intact, these can be moved to another computer.

But wha hardware is failing ?
slightwv (䄆 Netminder) Commented:
I'm surprised Oracle Support talked to them at all.  Oracle doesn't support running on VMWare unless the issue can be reproduced on a supported platform or it is a known bug. They will refer you to VMWare Support.

You might think about that moving forward.

If you think this is an Oracle problem, what version of Oracle (all 4 numbers please)?

On the database server, look for the alert log.  If should have the errors for the database.  The DBA for the database should be able to help you with that.

I'm guessing you don't have an Oracle person on staff?  The version should tell me where the default location is.  In 11g and above look for a diag/rdbms/trace folder somewhere.

You can also search the file system for a file like alert_SID.log where SID is the database name.

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GetDuplicatedAuthor Commented:
I rebuilt a new server and the software company was able to rebuild the database on from a backed up copy. Thanks for the advice
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