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Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files

How Does VMware Content Library Work

Here you will find out:

  • what is a VMware content library
  • what are the two ways of VMware content library usage
  • when DiskInternals can help you

Are you ready? Let's read!

What is a VMware content library?

VMware content library

A VMware content library is a repository for storing virtual machine templates, text files, scripts, and ISO images. This feature is available in vSphere 6.0.

Thus, you can centrally and effectively manage important content in the vSphere environment.

You no longer need to connect a shared resource to each ESXi host to distribute elements.

The use of a content library solves this problem, as library elements are shared between vCenter servers.

That is, the deployment of virtual machine templates, etc. comes directly from the content library.

In short, the use of the VMware content library provides efficiency, consistency, compliance, as well as automation when deploying workloads to scale.

Content library and templates

The content library can be used in two ways:

  1. Local: for local storage of items in one instance of vCenter Server.

For example, virtual machine templates and vApps templates are stored as OVF files. But this does not mean that you cannot upload other types of files (ISO images, text files, etc.) to the content library.

  1. Subscription: when you subscribe to the Local Publisher library in another instance of vCenter Server.

Thus, you can load all content elements, or only some, right after creating the library. A signed library is automatically regularly synchronized with the original published library, or synchronization can be done manually when convenient. Remember, you can only modify the content, but you can’t add content. And managing the published library is available only to the administrator.

Content library and templates

Templates are copies of virtual machines that are fully usable. Libraries have two types of templates that can be stored there:

  • OVF
  • VM

vApps are always converted to OVF templates in the content library and they are either a virtual machine template or a vApp template.

When a VM is cloned into a template in the content library, you choose whether to create an OVF template or a virtual machine template.

And when a vApp is cloned into a template in the content library, the only available option is the OVF template. OVF is a set of files, and thus, when exporting a template, all these files in an element of the OVF template library (.ovf, .vmdk) are saved on the local system.

How to set up the content library

So how do you set up a content library in VMware?

To upload certain files to the library, you need to import them. Remember: the file name must not exceed 90 characters.

So, click on the tab “Actions” and select “Import Item”.

Be sure to specify the file name (URL or local file).

Please note: regardless of the name of the URL, you will be asked to accept the site certificates after clicking the "Import" button.

Now let's start cloning: you can clone a specific virtual machine into a template. To do this, right-click the VM and click “Clone”. Next, click on “Clone as Template to Library”. Next, select the type of template: VM or OVF. After that, decide to either:

  • create a new template
  • update the existing one

Next, to complete the cloning, follow the instructions of the Wizard.

How to recover VMDK files in VM

DiskInternals VMFS Recovery provides recovery of VMFS data stored on damaged and inaccessible hard drives. It also automatically checks the status of volumes and VMware VMFS data stores and then restores available VMDK files.

Download and install the application, and then open it on your computer.

Connect via SSH if necessary.

The next step is to open the disk and start scanning.

After the scanning process, find the necessary VMDK files and mount them.

Then go to the VMDK file of interest and preview it (completely free).

To complete the process, buy a license for this product and complete the export of data to any storage device.

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