Wednesday, October 07, 2015

How to restore deleted vmdk from VMFS5

Yesterday I have got an E-mail from somebody asking me how to restore deleted vmdk from VMFS5. They deleted VM but realised there are very important data.

Typical answer would be - "Restore from backup" - however they wrote that they don't have backup.

Fortunately, I have never had a need to restore deleted vmdk so I was starting to do some quick research (aka googling :-) )

I found VMware KB 1015413 with following statement ...
"VMware does not offer data recovery services. This article provides contact information for data recovery service providers.
Note: VMware does not endorse or recommend any particular third-party utility, nor is this list meant to be exhaustive."
I was sitting in the VMware office so I have asked colleagues if they have any practical experience with undeleting vmdk from VMFS.  One colleague of mine suggested utility "VMFS Recovery" from He had positive experience with this particular tool. His suggestion was to use trial version which should help to identify if recovery is possible and buy full version for recovery.

Warning: Use any third party tool for recovery on your own risk.

I absolutely understand that if you lose your important data you would like to try anything to recover it back however here are my general thoughts:

  • Clone or snapshot your raw disk (LUN) with VMFS before any recovery (use storage array capabilities, third party imaging tool or *nix dd command) 
  • If your data are very valuable for you consider engagement of data recovery expert services
  • When  you do recovery by your self I wish you good luck.
If you have some other experience with this topic please share it with community in comments. 

Thursday, October 01, 2015

VMware VM Template deployment and MS Windows product license activation

In the past I have been informed from some of my customers that MS Windows Server license was not properly applied and activated  during VMware VM template deployment even the Product Key was properly entered in "Customization Specification".

I don't know if this issue still exists in the latest vSphere version however there was always pretty easy work around my customer is using since then.

You can use Run Once commands in "Customization Template". Below, in vSphere Web Client screen shot, you can see just example where two MS-DOS commands (dir and echo) are used.

For application and activation of MS Windows license key is leveraged tool slmgr.vbs which stands for "Windows Software Licensing Management Tool". 

Exact Run Once commands are:
  • C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs -ipk H7Y93-12345-54321-ABCDE (just example use your product key)
  • C:\Windows\System32\slmgr.vbs -ipk

First command is used for product key application and second for activation.