Recover data from three 'corrupted' VMFS volumes?


I have three corrupted VMDK volumes that should have VMs on them. When mounted, they show a few files, but none of the VM folders. The VMDKs were corrupted when the host had one or more hard shutdowns. The host was part of a server stack that was left unmaintained and unmonitored during a legal dispute - nobody could touch them during that time. The VMDKs are on ZFS drives. All good snapshots were overwritten during the 'hands off' time, so the snapshots that remain are corrupted also. The dispute has been fully resolved. I'm now working to recover the data from the various machines.

From my reading, continuum​ may be able to help, so I'm specifically shouting out in hopes to catch attention. Smiley Wink

There are three volumes. They are all much smaller than their pool, so they're not running out of space. I can mount the volumes and browse the datastores. The datastores only contain some log files and a .vsphere-HA folder. I've run VOMA on a copy of one datastore.

voma -m vmfs -f check -d /vmfs/devices/disks/naa.6589cfc000000a467d69c21cd5cc2fa4

Running VMFS Checker version 2.1 in check mode

Initializing LVM metadata, Basic Checks will be done

Checking for filesystem activity

Performing filesystem liveness check../Scanning for VMFS-3/VMFS-5 host activity (512 bytes/HB, 2048 HBs).

Phase 1: Checking VMFS header and resource files

   Detected VMFS file system (labeled:'Logs FILE1') with UUID:56645297-707682e4-b870-d4ae52656936, Version 5:58

Phase 2: Checking VMFS heartbeat region

Phase 3: Checking all file descriptors.

Phase 4: Checking pathname and connectivity.

ON-DISK ERROR: Direntry storagerm.6.gz : Invalid generation 0x397

Phase 5: Checking resource reference counts.

ON-DISK ERROR: SB inconsistency found: (208,0) free'ed in bitmap, but used

ON-DISK ERROR: SB inconsistency found: (210,8) allocated in bitmap, but never used

Total Errors Found:           3

I've also run the free version of Diskinternals VMFS on the copy, and showed many recovered files, but without buying Diskinternals, I won't get the files back.

Lastly, I've extracted 2048 blocks from each of the volumes. They're zipped and tarred, and available, along with the help sheet published by continuum​​. Please message me if you'd like the link. While the data isn't private or sensitive, I prefer not to put so much out there on a public forum.


How can I determine what can be recovered in these volumes?

What is the better option to recover the most data: recover using existing tools, recover with something like diskinternals VMFS, or something else?

If recovery is reasonably difficult, what paid consulting options are out there for assistance?


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2 Replies

Just checked your dumps - call me


Do you need support with a VMFS recovery problem ? - send a message via skype "sanbarrow"
I do not support Workstation 16 at this time ...

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Hi there, we had similar situation as datastore disc failed and we lost some of our VMDK files. We have engaged data recovery company and recovers some large vmfs data which can’t be attached as a drive. Can you please help? My email is:

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