VMFS data recovery

Here we examine our successful recovery of 20 x HDD RAID configured as a single storage pool each containing two RAID 5 arrays with hot spares. The client had already tried UFS Explorer without any success.

Connecting to the SAN via iSCSI using simultaneous connections, our technicians successfully imaged 18 HDDs. The missing HDDs affected the RAID 5 with a double drive failure. These failed drives were rebuilt in our cleanroom, where head combs were used to replace the heads. These combs keep the head assembly safe through disassembly. Once rebuilt, we were able to create a byte-by-byte ISO file or ‘image’.

A thorough scan of the VMFS volumes revealed six LUNs. Reconstruction of the file system hierarchy, including folder structure and file metadata, allowed us to organise the data into its original format. A signature search identified the files the client wanted to recover, before performing integrity checks.

Our Technical Director said:
“This was one of the most complicated and challenging recoveries we’ve seen in a while. The VMFS format enhances read/write capabilities by consolidating data stores. However, this is also its greatest weakness. VMFS reduces redundancy, which is a problematic in the event of hardware failure. I recommend a robust disaster recovery plan for anybody using virtual machines.”

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Michael Jones Data Recovery Specialists   
Michael Jones, Technical Director


Further reading

Recover Data from QNAP RAID 5 with Ubuntu

Synology vs. QNAP

Navigating Linux recovery mode