QNAP LUN Recovery – Preparing to recover VMWare ESX Datastores

When all things break, you are sometimes left with just your latest backup (hopefully) and the need to get to some files.

In this case, the problem was a broken QNAP NAS where we recovered some LUN RAW-Device files from. To add to our challenge, the LUNs recovered did not contain any mountable file system such as NTFS or so – they essentially had been used as VMWare ESX Datastores – so the files in there are VMWare Definition Files & Virtual Machines plus their file system is VMFS – the VMWare File System (which is not directly mountable/readable under Ubuntu)

In preparation for a recovery, I installed an Ubuntu 13.04 System and then added the following components via apt-get install.

  • iscsitarget: installs the iscsi target components – on some Ubuntu versions, this is sufficient to then host the LUNs, the 13.04 version (and maybe others) will throw an error “FATAL: Module iscsi_trgt not found.” which means I also have to install
  • iscsitarget-dkms: this one will compile and install – afterwards, the iscsi target service can be started (configuration assumed).
  • vmfs-tools: allows mounting and accessing partitions formatted in VMFS.
  • open-iscsi: installs the iscsi initiator (client) bits and pieces you need in order to mount an iscsi LUN locally.

Obviously, you might want to consider an apt-get update to update the dependcy and package libraries if you have not done so in a bit… even if you don’t have a system like that available, you can install one on any PC you can spare for the job in 30-60 minutes.

Note on the PC: use a physical PC if you have large amounts of data or many LUNs to recover. Make sure your disks – if you have to use external disks – are USB 3 for performance and your PC also has a USB 3.0 bus available…

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