Mount VMDK/OVF/OVA on Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2

So you've got a Linux VM that you want to access the contents of in EC2 - how do you do it? Let's see how. First up, convert the VMDK to raw image file. If you've got a ova/ovf then just untar it first (tar -xvf my_vm.ova), from which you should get the VMDK. With that, convert it using qemu-img:

$ time qemu-img convert -f vmdk -O raw SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.vmdk SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw

real    16m36.740s  
user    6m44.136s  
sys     0m11.000s  

Inspect the image file:

$ file /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw
/u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw: DOS/MBR boot sector; GRand Unified Bootloader, stage1 version 0x3, boot drive 0x80, 1st sector stage2 0x8480e, GRUB version 0.94

$ sudo fdisk -l /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw

Disk /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw: 214.7 GB, 214748364800 bytes, 419430400 sectors  
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes  
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes  
Disk label type: dos  
Disk identifier: 0x000274a9

                                                   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw1   *        2048     1026047      512000   83  Linux
/u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw2         1026048   419430399   209202176   8e  Linux LVM

Mounting it straight out won't work:

$ sudo mount /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw /mnt/sampleapp/
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/loop1,  
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error

       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail or so.

Using the offset (2048) from fdisk output above, mount the first partition:

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/sampleapp
$ sudo mount -o offset=$((2048 * 512)) /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw /mnt/sampleapp/


$ ls -l sampleapp/
total 134841  
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   106308 Oct 14  2014 config-2.6.32-504.el6.x86_64
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   107139 Mar 22  2016 config-2.6.32-573.22.1.el6.x86_64
-rw-r--r--. 1 root root   131020 Mar 23  2016 config-3.8.13-118.4.2.el6uek.x86_64

Now to mount the rest of the disk. Not so simple, as it uses Logical Volume Management (LVM):

$ sudo mount -o offset=$((1026048 * 512)) /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw /mnt/sampleapp/
mount: unknown filesystem type 'LVM2_member'  

Courtesy of this article, we use losetup to make the volumes available via the loop device, run as root. We can skip the use of kpartx by using the -P flag on losetup:

# losetup -P /dev/loop0 /u01/stage/vm/extract/SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw

And then activate the volume groups:

# vgscan
  Reading all physical volumes.  This may take a while...
  Found volume group "vg_demo" using metadata type lvm2

# vgchange -ay vg_demo
  3 logical volume(s) in volume group "vg_demo" now active

Finally, mount each volume group:

# ls -l /dev/mapper/
total 0  
crw------- 1 root root 10, 236 Feb 14 10:21 control  
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Feb 14 14:21 loop0p1 -> ../dm-0  
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Feb 14 14:21 loop0p2 -> ../dm-1  
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Feb 14 14:21 vg_demo-lv_home -> ../dm-4  
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Feb 14 14:21 vg_demo-lv_root -> ../dm-2  
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root       7 Feb 14 14:21 vg_demo-lv_swap -> ../dm-3

# mkdir sampleapp/home sampleapp/root
# mount /dev/mapper/vg_demo-lv_root /mnt/sampleapp/root/
# mount /dev/mapper/vg_demo-lv_home /mnt/sampleapp/home/

To unmount the image:

# umount /mnt/sampleapp/home/
# umount /mnt/sampleapp/root/
# umount /mnt/sampleapp/
# losetup -d /dev/loop0

Convert back to VMDK:

[ec2-user@ip-10-0-1-238 extract]$ time qemu-img convert -f raw -O vmdk SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1.raw SampleAppv607p-appliance-disk1-mod.vmdk

real    19m34.931s  
user    0m4.780s  
sys     3m25.332s  

Robin Moffatt

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Yorkshire, UK