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Is there any possibility to recover VMs from a VMFS5 auto-reformatted by Nutanix CE?


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For NTFS, data recovery tools are plentiful, for accidental quick-formats, and straight-forward data recovery.

But this circumstance is quite different.

Since Nutanix CE Version ce-2015.11.05-stable automatically formats any drives it finds, can a user be advised of any sort of data recovery technique that might help out, should they have gotten throught he Nutanix CE install, but not actually laid down any new data on those reformatted drives yet?
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Best answer by Paul_Braren 7 January 2016, 01:49

Thank you!



FYI, update on recovery here:

http://www.diskinternals.com/support/tickets.php?id=6211

it's fine, I'm ready to move onward now anyway.



Marking this as resolved now, since I'm confident it's unlikely this will be happening to others in future Nutanix CE releases. If there's some sort of recreate help needed, no problem, don't hesitate to contact me directly at https://TinkerTry.com/contact.
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Userlevel 7
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- Sorry for the confusion. There should be a warning typed right into the top of the installer screen.

Either way, I've had to do this in the old SAN world, where some SAN Admin nukes a LUN with VMFS on it.

Give this a whack

Recreating a missing VMFS datastore partition in VMware vSphere 5.0/5.1/5.5
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Ah yes, thanks Jon, for your rapid and helpful response. Understandably, most wouldn't want to touch this tender topic (data loss) with a 10 foot pole.

I appreciate that you seem to agree it would help if the installer (and/or download site) had a clear warning (& ideally a pause and/or clear confirmation), especially helpful for those new to Nutanix CE. This would give a much better shot at a very positive first impression, instead of a potentially rather negative one for those who haven't read any manuals or readme files (most users).

That kb does seem to be THE article, capturing some of the techniques I've seen VMware support folk do. I do have a test small SSD I tried this on, and gets me "unknown" which I believe just means it ain't VMFS so it's stumped:



It's very hard to (Google) find if anybody has recovered from such a circumstance as this ext formatting of a vmfs filesystem. I'm not expecting a reply of course, just dumping what I did find here in case it helps others.

Thanks again!
Userlevel 7
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There is already a warning in both the documentation as well as right at the tippy top of the installer screen, above the EULA (i think it might even be the first sentence).

Maybe we can add an additional prompt. I'll put in a ticket.
Userlevel 7
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I put an internal improvement in, ENG-46598 CE: Warning for re-formatting drives
Userlevel 7
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Might be easy to check for existing file systems on the targets since doco doesn't cut it.
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Liking that thinking, thanks jrack.

Let's see, what if we suggest a good baby step would be to consider starting with something like this: (just thinking aloud)

a) a bit of drive sniffing, to allow a prepared user (like me, who had skimmed the materials) to have just inserted two blank drives (one SSD, on HDD), allowing the installer to notice those 2 with no filesystems, and proceed with just formatting those by default

b) even better would be allowing the user to choose which targets to format/use, interactively, like the ESXi installer carefull does, but I realize that's adding complexity and losing installer simplicity, and adding install steps for a new hardware/datacenter focused product
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I should be clear, I only have myself to blame for one test I did, with one too many drives left inserted, as I was recording a video and doing a live voiceover of my first attempt, without reading each and every line carefully. No big deal, nothing important lost.

Having a quick look at my video footage yesterday, I don't actually recall seeing a warning, but I'll scrub through all the footage soon. Meanwhile, I realize protecting my own data (and reading EULAs) is always up to me, the person trying the code. This was just a lab test, and was intending to get a dialogue going about the potential for recovery if others make this same mistake, and/or ways to ensure a more positive impression for newbies. I'm so amazed you've been so receptive, so quickly, and I'm already very glad I took the time to post this!

Userlevel 7
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No worries, definitely not trying to be defensive or anything.

As you can imagine, we take anything "Data Loss" extremely seriously.

My apologies, I was actually mistaken, I went back and looked at the installer, and we've changed it since the beta.

In the beta, the installer screen, which you posted, used to have the data loss warning right at the top.

We actually still have the beta screenshot up in the docs, under "Installing CE" here: http://download.nutanix.com/guides/additional_releases/communityedition/index_frames.html

Now, in the latest one, we have a screen before that screen you posted comes up, where it askes for your language, and tells you it will do disrutive write tests to determine drive performance, in which you have to hit proceed. See the screenshot I posted in drop box below.

To fix the docs, I've put in ENG-46602 for a docs bug.

What would make sense to me is to add that drive sniffing code on that first screen, and if we see it is unclean, mark it as such. I'll add these notes to the internal ticket.

This has precedence, as this is how ESXi does it.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/br9fbme7l9p8ll0/Screenshot%202015-12-31%2022.03.33.png?dl=0

Jon
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Wonderful response Jon. And I've now put up video which may be helpful to anybody that wants to glide through the initial setup steps a bit faster. Here's where I do that first boot.

By the way, Happy New Year!
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Article now up as well:
https://TinkerTry.com/nutanix-ce-on-superserver

Yeah, it seems this build doesn't actually have a warning, but I continue to be amazed by the response I'm receiving here. Thank you Jon, for your time and consideration. Folks like you make such a huge difference ALL the difference in the impression folks have of your company!
Userlevel 7
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happy to help.

Thanks for the blog article and video, looks good thus far.
Badge +6
I'm afraid I was wrong when I referred to a beta build in my video description section only:
beta ce-2015.11.05-stable.img.gz
Turns out that all along my tests, and my video, were all done with this stable build:
ce-2015.11.05-stable.img.gz
which, as seen in the video, appears to have no clear disk format warning at any phase of the installation. I have made the appropriate update to the description, and left my article as-is, which already referred to the proper stable Novemeber image. I'm truly sorry about that mistake, and wanted to try to be sure I've set the record straight before we close this thread out.

By the way, it would appear this DiskInternals VMFS Recovery shows some promise for bringing back a VMDK that I'd prefer to keep, but at a cost commensurate with it's potential value to businesses. Taking a conservative/save approach, I'm thinking about using it to image what I got before I move on, in case later on I discover that I really would prefer to try to recover any VMDKs after all. Such tools take time, a lot of time (hours or even days), especially for a larger multi terabyte drives.

Thanks again for everything Jon.
Userlevel 7
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Somethings different between ours.

I see your running the novemeber CE, but those screens and workflows are different than what I get when I do mine nested on the same build (if you see my drop box screenshots from before).

 -

Look at that the youtube video as this time code (14:30), it doesn't show the drives and talk about destructive write tests.

Filing a bug now.
Userlevel 7
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I just changed ENG-46598 from improvement to bug, well get this figured out.
Badge +6
Thank you!

FYI, update on recovery here:
http://www.diskinternals.com/support/tickets.php?id=6211
it's fine, I'm ready to move onward now anyway.

Marking this as resolved now, since I'm confident it's unlikely this will be happening to others in future Nutanix CE releases. If there's some sort of recreate help needed, no problem, don't hesitate to contact me directly at https://TinkerTry.com/contact.