Mount an ESX partition with VMFS

Requirements:

This tutorial will explain how to mount an ESXI partition in rescue mode, as the filesystem used by this distribution is not supported by default

Once you are connected to the server in rescue mode, you need to run some commands as superuser, therefore we are switching directly to the super user to save some time:

      sudo su

Confirm it by typing the password of the rescue mode.

Now we launch an update of the packet manager and install the vmfs tools:

      aptitude update && aptitude install vmfs-tools

After the package is installed, we have several new commands available:

      vmfs-fuse debugvmfs fsck.vmfs

From this selection we will use vmfs-fuse, which is an utility for VMFS.

We mount the partition as following:

      vmfs-fuse VOLUME MOUNTPOINT

Esxi will mount several partitions, therefore we have to run:

      fdisk 

We will see a partition with the following label:

      VMware VMFS

Let us take sdb3 for example.

We have to mount it now, to have access to the data:

      vmfs-fuse /dev/sdb3 /mnt/vmfs

The partition is now available at /mnt/vmfs

In case you are having problems accessing it, you need to patch it:

      ls /mnt/vmfs -lah

We can now recover our partitions.

Don't forget that when you are recovering a VM with a 8GB (for example) disk, it will also take 8GB space on our local disk.