Here is how our environment configuration looks like:

Server 1 (Windows)

  • Intel Xeon E5-2670 v4
  • 128Gb RAM Kingston
  • 1x HDD Seagate 1tb
  • 4xIntel DC S3610 Series 480gb
  • Mellanox ConnectX-3 network adapter 10G

Server 2 (ESXi)

  • Intel Xeon E5-2670 v4
  • 128Gb RAM Kingston
  • 1x HDD Seagate 1tb
  • Mellanox ConnectX-3 network adapter 10G

As you can see, we’ll have storage on Host 1 connected to the VMware ESXi hypervisor on Host 2 over NFS.

First, a few words about the protocol itself. NFS (Network File System) is a distributed file system protocol allowing to access files over the network just as the local ones. This allows mounting remote file systems via the network.

NFS provides small client systems with an access to servers’ huge disk capacities. That seems natural for the modern network file systems, but some time ago, clients and servers could not distribute disk storage among each other.

NFS delivers a transparent access to server files and file system that, actually, is protocol’s main advantage. The protocol accesses only the parts of the file referred by the process. This implies that any clients’ application can access an NFS file just as it does with the local files without any modifications of the initial application.

In order to optimize the NFS Server performance, check the official VMware guide:

https://www.vmware.com/content/dam/digitalmarketing/vmware/en/pdf/techpaper/vmware-nfs-bestpractices-white-paper-en.pdf

Let’s go on and configure the NFS Server.

First, add roles in the Windows Server environment.

Add the NFS Server role.

Afterwards, access properties of the disk that you intend to connect with NFS. Here, D drive is used for that purpose.

Enter the NFS Sharing tab in the Drive Properties menu. In the NFS Sharing directory, access the Manage NFS Sharing tab.

Check the necessary settings there and go to the Permissions tab.

Choose Read-Write in the Type of access field. Afterwards, check the Allow root access box.

Once the settings are applied, you will be provided access to the disk storage with the NFS protocol.

Now, we can proceed to setting NFS in the VMware environment

Go to the Datastores tab on the host where an NFS is connected.

Create a new Datastore there.

Select Datastore NFS in the Type tab.

Next, in the Select NFS version tab, select NFS 4.1 version.

In the Name and configuration tab, specify the Datastore name. Afterwards, enter the path to the NFS in the Folder area. In the Servers field, enter the server’s IP address or name where NFS Disk is located.

Pass by the Configure Kerberos authentication tab because Kerberos authentication was not performed.

Eventually, check the settings at the Ready to complete tab.

Right after the NFS Datastore creation is confirmed, it is displayed in the Datastores tab.

Connect the NFS disk via virtual machine’s settings.

NOTE: Only Thin provisioned NFS disk can be connected to the virtual machine.

In virtual machine Disk Management menu, an unallocated disk is displayed.

Conclusion

In this first part, we’ve configured an NFS disk and connected it to the VMware host. It should be noted that the VMware solution whit underlying NFS storage is a simple and reliable way to store and manage virtual machines. In the next chapter, we’ll configure the iSCSI protocol, so stay tuned!