Today, my thanks go to Christophe Fillot and Mike Hommey for writing vmfs-fuse. Y'all saved my bacon (or at least a few hours of my time) today.
For those that don't recognize the tool, vmfs-fuse allows you to mount VMFS formatted volumes under "regular" linux. I was backing out of an extremely large (1TB) ESXi install and, half-way through, I realized that I hadn't backed up one of the virtual machines. I ran up against a wall, trying to get the usual disk utilities to mount the volume and was looking at having to juggle hard drives and reinstall ESXi, just to get a folder copied. A search of Google and a Synaptic search later, and I'm copying the folder as I write this post.
So, if you're in a pinch and need to avoid having to install ESXi, just to get a file/folder copied, you might want to consider installing the vmfs-tools package (which contains vmfs-fuse).