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Today my vmware esxi server (version 3.5) was no longer responding, so did a hard reset. After the reboot one of the VMFS partions no longer shows any files.

VMware vSphere client still shows the partition and it looks likes the space is still occupied, but the files are no longer visible.

Are there any tools available to recover the files?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I opened a ticket at VMWare support. They found out that it was a HW failure.

It looks like the RAID controller I was using had an issue. All the data on the drive where lost.

Fortunately I was able to restore the data from backup.

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It's unfortunate that this was a genuine disaster but it does demonstrate the importance of having a support contract for important server infrastructure and the criticality of backups. – Helvick Feb 14 '10 at 11:25

vmkfstools -R vmhba1:1:0:0 (or whatever the LUN in) should help.

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When I run vmkfstools -R /dev/disks/vmhba2:0:1:0 I get the following error message: Error: vmkfstools failed: vmkernel is not loaded or call not implemented. – Simon Greter Nov 11 '09 at 19:45
as Helvick says you need to use the Remote CLI tools or the VIMA appliance to run vmkfstools. – Chopper3 Nov 11 '09 at 20:52

VMFS volumes are checked whenever they are mounted so I'd be surprised if forcing another check actually gets you anywhere. That said I've been surprosed before and there is some good advice on how to go about that in this VMWare Communities Thread. Remember that since you are using ESXi you'll either have to break into the unsupported console or use the Remote CLI tools or the VIMA appliance to run vmkfstools.

It's unusual for VMFS to truly get corrupt though, what's more common is that the state of the VM files has been left in such state that causes the ESX host to decide that it doesn't want to play nicely with them. You should take a look in the logs, specifically /var/log/vmkwarning or /var/log/vmkernel to see if they give any hints as to what's going wrong.

Since this is ESXi you'll have to export the diagnostics\logs from within the VI Client's file menu [ file -> Export -> Export Diagnostic Logs ] and then unpack the file (it's a .tgz) that this creates.

Veeam FastSCP should allow you to connect to the ESXi host and browse the VMFS Datastore. It will display everything it sees and wont hide things the way the VI Client's Datastore Browser does. This may give you some hints about what's going on.

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