This is the first release of a Commandline-only-LiveCD created for
VMware vSphere Administrators.
There is quite a large number of good Linux LiveCDs to chose from
when you are looking for a toolbox for system-administrators. My
personal favorite sure is PartedMagic
Unfortunately there is none that has all the tools that I need for
my recovery work
Often I could get away with a recent Ubuntu-LiveCD by adding the
essential tools using apt-get.
In most recovery cases fighting to get your regular tools is nothing
that you want to happen too often.
Booting a Linux LiveCD inside a remote production-environment by
giving instructions via skye or phone can be tricky enough.
So the expected use-case for this LiveCD can be described in this
CUSTOMER> I have a problem with my VMFS-Volume
ME> Let me see what I can do for you ...
CUSTOMER> What do you need to get started ?
ME> Enable ssh, get putty and winscp , download
this ISO-file. When ready give me a Teamviewer-login to your admin-host.
Depending on the type of connection there are different ways to
get access to the damaged volume:
- VMFS-volume is stored on a local SCSI
or SATA drive
- VMFS-volume is stored on a remote iSCSI-LUN
- VMFS-volume is stored on FibreChannel-LUN
- VMFS-volume is stored in a VMDK-file
Sometimes a Volume has to remain active as it is used for production
- sometimes it can be unmounted:
- Volume is active - no exclusive access
- Volume is unmounted - exclusive access allowed/possible
Depending on the local environment different types of hosts can
be used for the Recovery-environment
- any spare physical machine
- a physical ESXi host
- a VM running on one of the local ESXi-hosts
- a VM running inside Workstation installed on the remote admin-host
In all the cases listed above the Recovery-Environment must be able
to maintain reliable direct access to the damaged
VMFS-volume and offer several options to store the recovered VMs.
The term LiveCD suggests that it only can be started from a physical
CD-drive or ISO-file.
This release is not limited to CD-drive or ISO-files thats why I
prefer to call it "Recovery Environment"
- can boot from CD-drive or ISO
- can boot from USB-flash-drives or USB-disks
- can boot from harddisk (IDE, SATA or SCSI)
- can boot like a regular bootable vmdk - just add a vmdk-descriptor
that references the ISO-file
- can be deployed as OVA
- can boot from MBR and UEFI - allows to
boot it inside almost all recent VMs on ESXi, WS or Fusion
- needs 64bit support to be enabled inside the VM
My list of required tools - to name just the essentials - looks
- latest version of vmfs-tools
- tools to manage GPT disks
- complete iSCSI-support
- complete NFS-support
- ddrescue, testdisk, photorec and other forensic essentials
- web-interface to make some common tasks easier
The experienced admin may miss the following addons:
- vmware-mount included in the VDDK-package
- esxcli included in the VMware-CLI
- vmrun included in the VMware-VIX package
Unfortunately these packages are not redistributable so I can not
As a workaround I include the
- dependancies for non-distributable VMware-packages
so that the mentioned tools can be installed on the fly when the
Recovery-environment is booted with sufficient memory.
Even without vmware-mount I think a collection of tools for the
expected scenarios should be able to mount the most frequent types
of virtual disks so I added further commandline-tools like guestfish
This allows stunts that probably should only be attempted by experts
- mount vmdks - even when the vmdks are
locked by ESXi
This collection of tools was created because I need this set of
- recovery of damaged VMFS-volumes
- P2V using the Coldclone-approach
I do not claim that the collection includes every tool that would
be useful in the VMware-context.
This collection simply includes 99 % of the tools I use whenever
I offer remote-support.
Feel free to use it if you have similar needs.
Try this first - should boot on most systems
Try this version when the EFI-version fails - old hosts may prefer this