Create NFS Storage in vSphere 6.5


Network File System (NFS) is a distributed file system protocol originally developed by Sun Microsystems in 1984, allowing an user on a client computer to access files over a network much like local storage is accessed. NFS, like many other protocols, builds on the Open Network Computing Remote Procedure Call (ONC RPC) system.

The significant presence of Network Filesystem Storage (NFS) in the datacenter today, as well as the lower cost-per-port for IP based Storage, has lead to many people wanting to deploy virtualization environments with Network Attached Storage (NAS) shared storage resources.  VMware offers support for almost all features and functions on NFS – as it does for vSphere on SAN. Running vSphere on NFS is a very viable option for many virtualization deployments as it offers strong performance and stability if configured correctly. NFS is relative easy to design, configure and manage. When configured correctly it offers strong performance and stability. Deployment of ESXi with IP based storage is common and widely seen in the field.

Before NFS storage can be addressed by an ESX server, the following issues need to be addressed:

  • Have a virtual switch configured for IP based storage.
  • The ESX hosts needs to be configured to enable its NFS client.
  • The NFS storage server needs to have been configured to export a mount point that is accessible to the ESX server on a trusted network.

Today we are going to show how to add new NFS datastore on vSphere 6.5. We will create a simple NFS share on Windows Server 2012 R2 and then present to the esxi host.

  1. Add NFS role and features related to nfs sharing in Windows Server.
  2. Create a folder on drive that has enough space and click Properties. Go to NFS Sharing tab and Manage NFS Sharing… option.
Select the check mark  “Share this folder” and depending on your environment or requirement, you can uncheck Kerberos authentication. Select the Allow anonymous access and click on Permissions tab.

Type of Access choose “Read-Write” and Allow root access. In Add Names textarea enter the IP or FQDN of the hosts that will access this NFS share. Click OK.

  1. Open your vCenter Server and go to Home -> Hosts and Clusters and right-click on Datacenter -> Storage -> New Datastore
Choose the type of datastore you are creating, in this case NFS and click Next.
Select NFS version that datastore will be. If you are not so sure, go ahead with version 3.
Specify the name of the datastore, folder path and server name or IP of NFS share.
Next select the hosts that will access this share NFS datastore.
In Ready to complete screen, review all the configuration and click Finish.
After the task is completed, go to Home -> Storage and see the new NFS datastore added.
Now you can use NFS volumes to store and boot virtual machines in the same way that you use VMFS datastores.

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