An NFS client built into ESXi uses the Network File System (NFS) protocol over TCP/IP to access a designated NFS volume that is located on a NAS server. NFS Storage with VMware Cloud Foundation can mount a single NFS volume to each ESXi host where it can be used to store virtual disks or as a central repository for ISO images and virtual machine templates.

NFS is generally used as a supplemental storage option but can be used as principal storage with VI workload domains. VMware Cloud Foundation only supports NFS protocol version 3 when used as principal storage. Supplemental storage can use either vSphere supported NFS protocol version 3 or 4.1. Although NFS 3 and NFS 4.1 can coexist on the same host, you cannot use different NFS versions to mount the same datastore on different hosts.

Only a single NFS volume is mounted during the creation of a new workload domain or cluster, additional NFS volumes can be mounted as supplemental storage after the VI workload domain or cluster has been created.

Storage Type

Consolidated Workload Domain

Management Domain

VI Workload Domain









An additional VMkernel port is created during the VI workload domain or cluster creation for NFS. If the NFS server exists on a separate L3 network a static route may be required to ensure that the traffic egresses the correct VMkernel port.

To configure static routing on your ESXi hosts, use the esxcli command:

esxcli network ip route ipv4 add -g gateway-to-use –n remote-network

Prerequisites for NFS Storage

  • A minimum of three ESXi hosts marked with the NFS storage must be in the SDDC Manager inventory. See Commission Hosts.
  • An NFS Server that meets the NFS Storage Guidelines and Requirements found in the vSphere Storage Guide.
  • A Network Pool that includes details for the vMotion and NFS networks that will be used for the cluster. See Network Pool Management.
  • The FQDN and the mount point folder name of the NFS server.

Procedures for NFS Storage