NFS Reading list for vSphere Users

I have to confess that I have always thought of NFS for vSphere as being a second-tier choice. Even the best solutions from well known vendors using 10GbE and SSD, NFS datastores always seem to under-perform and be more problematic as compared to block-storage SAN devices. Even with the theoretical reduction of overhead per payload (per Ethernet Frame), I’ve never found an enterprise NFS device that I wouldn’t gladly trade for a block-storage SAN when used for vSphere-specific applications.

That being said, NFS is a fine protocol and one occasionally finds enterprise vSphere deployments of some scale which leverage NFS partly or exclusively, so I put together this reading list. There is no one solution, Best Practice, however a better understanding of how vSphere uses NFS never hurts.

Virtual machines residing on NFS storage become unresponsive during a snapshot removal operation (2010953)VMware KB

  • Use Network Transport (AKA: NBD) and NOT hot-add on the transport/proxy
  • Use one transport/proxy VM per ESXi Host and create Host Affinity Rules
  • Use NFS 4.1

VM Loses Connection During Snapshot Removal – Veeam

  • Use faster datastore
  • Create CPU reservation for VM
  • use workingDir to redirect snapshots to different datastore than the VM datastore
  • Disable VMware Tools Sync driver

NFS 4.1 Multipathing Configuration and Best Practices – VMware vSphere Central

  • Use multipatiing with more than one IP on the target SAN
  • Use IP Hash on vSwitches

NFS Storage Design VMware Docs

  • NFS cannot be storage load balanced – only network load balanced AKA IP Hash

Best Practices for running VMware vSphereTM on Network Attached Storage – VMware White Paper

  • Increase concurrent datastore mounts from 8 to 32
  • Increase Net.TcpipHeapSize to 30MB
  • Change timeout settings ESXi
    • HeartbeatFrequency = 12
    • HeartbeatTimeout = 5
    • HeartbeatMaxFailures = 10

NFS Protocols and ESXi – VMware Docs

  • Converting to 4.1 –first unmount NFS 3 datastore from all hosts to which it is mounted BEFORE mounting it as 4.1
  • NFS Datastores MUST never be mounted as 3.X and 4.X at the same time due to file locking techniques.

NFS with IP Hash Load Balancing (1006795) VMware KB

  • Use IP Hash

Best Practices running VMware with NFS

  • Nice list of NFS 3 vs. NFS 4.1 supported features
  • Detailed NFS optimizations per ESXi Version



About: John Borhek

John Borhek is the CEO and Lead Solutions Architect at VMsources Group Inc. John has soup-to-nuts experience in Mission Critical Infrastructure, specializing in hyper-convergence and Cloud Computing, engaging with organizations all over the United States and throughout the Americas.

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