VMFS Recovery™
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Last updated: Aug 31, 2022

VMFS Tools

Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) tools are designed for carrying out several functions. Virtual machines are capable of providing services through the combination of different features from these tools. Understanding how they work plus the advantage of combining their features with well-known techniques is key to getting computational benefits from them.

Article content:

  • How to Mount VMFS File System on Linux (Ubuntu)?
  • Mounting VMFS Partition on a New VMware ESXi Host
  • Accessing VMFS Datastore from Windows

Are you ready? Let's read!

How to Mount VMFS File System on Linux (Ubuntu)?

The need to mount a VMFS file system on a Linux machine often arises when a hardware failure occurs. In this case, it will be helpful to recover VM data from that hardware. A broken motherboard on an ESXi server is a great example of possible hardware failure that may require you to mount the VMFS file system on your Linux machine. If you can find a way to separate SCSI or SAS as the direct storage, you should be able to add the disks to another machine with compatible specifications without having to change anything.

It is important to note that if you are using RAID array controllers, RAID 1 and RAID 10 are the most reliable RAID options. RAID 1 still holds the record as the easiest option for data recovery. Mounting a VMFS file system requires you to understand the technical steps and things you should do to get the result you desire.

How to Mount VMFS 5 in Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a favorite Linux machine that is common for different operations. Mounting the VMFS file system on it will require you to install VMFS-tools. This comes as a free package. After successfully mounting this, you can proceed to mount the VMFS file system in read-only mode.

To proceed with mounting VMFS 5 in Ubuntu:

  • Start command as a root user. You should use sudo –I to get the root privileges necessary for installing VMFS tools
  • Next step is to install vmfs-tools using Ubuntu package manager. This should install the most recent version of vmfs tools. Use the command below

Apt-get install vmfs-tools

  • Next, create a directory that will be useful for mounting VMFS 5 in your Ubuntu operating system. Use the command below:

Mkdir /mnt/vmfs

  • Next, confirm the names of your disks and table partitions with VMFS. For vmfs 5, the partition is /dev/sdb and the partition requirement is /dev/sbd1. Check with the command below:

Fdisk –i

  • For VMFS 6, the partition directory is /dev/sdc1
  • Next, proceed to mount your VMFS 5 partition to the vmfs directory. Use the command below for the mounting purpose:

Vmfs-fuse /dev/sdb1 /mnt/vmfs

How to Mount VMFS 6 in Ubuntu

Mounting a VMFS 6 is similar to how it is done when mounting a VMFS 5. To proceed with mounting VMFS 6 on your Ubuntu operating system, follow the steps below:

  • From your root user access, create a directory from which you will mount VMFS 6 on your operating system. Use the command line below:

Mkdir /mnt/vmfs6

Note: If you attempt to mount VMFS 6 file system in Linux using the vmfs-fuse command, you will get an error because it only supports VMFS 3 and VMFS 5. This will throw an error message stating that version 6 is an unsupported version.

  • Next, install the VMFS-tool that contains the vmfs6-fuse together with it from the Ubuntu repository. Use the following command to proceed:

wget

Use the command below to install the downloaded deb package:

dpkg -i vmfs6-tools_0.1.0-3_amd64.deb

  • Proceed to mount VMFS on your Ubuntu operating system with the command below:

vmfs6-fuse /dev/sdc1 /mnt/vmfs6

How to Mount VMFS with Multiple Extents in Linux

Mounting VMFS on your Ubuntu machine with multiple extent may look and feel like it entails an extensive requirement. However, you will quickly find out that it can be quite straightforward to accomplish. With easy-to-follow steps, you can mount VMFS tool with multiple extents in Linux easily. Follow the steps below to mount VMFS tools on Ubuntu:

  • Use fdisk –I or parted –I to check the names of your partitions
  • Use vmfs6-fuse to mount a VMFS file system that consists of multiple extents. Use the command below to proceed:

“vmfs6-fuse /dev/sdd1 /dev/sde1 /mnt/vmfs6”

  • You can use fdisk –I to check if your vmfs for multiple extents were mounted successfully.

Mounting VMFS Partition on a New VMware ESXi Host

Connecting your disks to a new ESXi server is the universal option to gain access to data on your VMFS data store server. You can also consider this option as the easiest option to mount a VMFS volume from a physical hard drive to a storage array device. To proceed with this mounting option, follow the steps below:

  • Simply using the vSphere web client, connect to your new ESXi server
  • After connecting to the new server, proceed to connect the disk to the new host and perform storage rescan
  • From the device tab, Locate your LUN. Here, make sure that ESXi can reach the VMFS partition in this directory
  • Connect to the ESXi host through SSH and run the command: “vmkfstools –v”
  • On running the command above, the available VMFS partitions should be mounted
  • To check the availability of these VMFS storage, open vSphereclient and check ‘Mount’
  • At this point, you should be able to access all your files on VMFS datastore

Accessing VMFS Datastore from Windows

To access VMFS partition on Windows, you need to have a special Java driver – Open source VMFS driver. This allows you to mount your VMFS volumes in read-only mode on your Windows machine. To proceed with the requirements, follow the steps below:

  • Proceed to download the open source VMFS driver using the link below. Create a VMFS directory and extract your downloads in this directory

https://code.google.com/archive/p/vmfs/

  • Next, confirm the number of disks containing the VMFS datastore that is connected to your Windows computer. In most cases, it is usually .\PhysicalDrive1
  • Proceed to share the disk information with webdav with the command below:

java -jar fvmfs.jar \\.\PhysicalDrive1 webdav

  • Next, mount the shared disk using the command below:

net use * http://localhost:50080/vmfs

While working on mounting your VMFS datastore from your Windows machine, make sure you do not close your command window to avoid losing your progress.

Conclusion

VMFS tools are important for their benefits. Especially for recovery purposes, you can rely on different tools to provide access to data storage services and data management even when the host machine crashes. The options above with VMFS tools are useful for managing your disks and recovering data when the need arises.

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