VMs running with no VMDK files on the datastore

crp0499 used Ask the Experts™
What happened to my VMDKs?  :)  Don't you love questions that open like that?

This is all ESX 6.5

We had two hosts.  Host 1 had some VMs on it.  I used Veeam to move the VMs to a new host, then I used the Delete From Disk on the old host once the VMs were moved to the new host and confirmed as running.

Eight (count them, 8) days later, I notice in Veeam that the VMs I moved had Zero used space but lots of provisioned space.  So I looked some more and guess what, I have 5 VMs up and running, working perfectly, with NO VMDK files behind them.  There is no folder on the datastore, no VMDK file, nothing.  

I powered one off.

The VM name disappeared and was replaced with //vmfs/509g0t9e8f85040rldlgjt et al.

There is now no VM and no VMDK and no folder.  I'm certain when I used the Remove From Disk, my VMDK files were gone, yet somehow the VM is still running as a cached file.

So, is there anything I can do before I start the restore process?  Any way to "save" these VMs before I turn them off and then restore to this morning?


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VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Install VMware Converter in the VM and perform a V2V capture/conversion to another host and datastore

If you cannot install or convert the VM is duff

Yes we’ve seen this.. problem is as soon as a write or read in the VM Guest OS it causes a crash of the VM


Downloaded and working like  charm!  Sometimes all you need is someone not in panic mode to help to think clearly.  Superb suggestion!  That's two or three dinners I owe you now!
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

No problems.

Glad it's working for you.

I'll cash in those meal tickers, next time I'm in Texas!

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