Wednesday, January 13, 2010

VMware Disk Mount Utility to the Rescue!

I had a bit of a scare over the holidays. I usually keep two copies of my data at all times.  One copy is on my laptop and the second copy is on an external hard drive at the house. Well, what happens if you are installing a new OS on your laptop (one copy gone) and as you are copying back all of your data, the external hard drive starts clicking and throwing up errors (two copies gone).  Yikes!

I tend to "sip my own champagne" (I don't "eat my own dog food", too crude of a reference) so I run my corporate workstation in a virtual machine with VMware Player.  All of my data was in one big 32GB vmdk file on the external hard disk.  I cracked the case on the USB disk and mounted it on my home PC.  The drive was recognized!  I tried to copy the vmdk off to the c:\ so I could transfer it to the laptop. The transfer was VERY slow. It was going to take most of the night and the next day to copy but I needed my data NOW!

VMware Disk Mount Utility to the rescue!  In case you aren't familiar with the product, you can download it here and the manual is here.  It allows you to mount vmdk's from either Windows or Linux.  There are some limitations as specified in the document but you can mount VMware Workstation as well as ESX virtual machines.

Using the tool I was able to mount the vmdk and just copy out the data I needed for work the next day.  Over the weekend I was able to recover all the rest of my data.  It took 3 days to copy 100GB worth of vm's and there were a few casualties.  My ESXi machine and a couple of XP builds were corrupt and I will have to recreate them.  I was lucky I got the data back but a big thanks to VMware for the tool!


Andrew Miler said...

It wouldn't help with your vmdk's....but I'd highly recommend SugarSync (just as it's what I use ;-).

My current methodology is a bit similar -- as I use a Mac, I back up my entire machine to an external hard drive via Time Machine (I run Auto-Protect on my VM's so the differences aren't too huge).

However, I also use SugarSync to sync my "DNS" folder (all my work stuff - customer files, quotes, BoM's, etc.) ...both so I can sync to multiple computers, have another completely automatic backup method, use the iPhone client.

It's worked well for me so far -- when I had a bad video card in my laptop about 10 months ago (nVidia recall), I installed the SugarSync client on my wife's computer at home (which pulled down all my stuff) and was able to function for a couple days.

Aaron Delp said...

Nice! Thanks for the comment Andrew!