Network File System (NFS) is a distributed file system protocol that allows a user on a client computer to access files over a network much like local storage is accessed. In this case, the client computer is an ESXi host, and the storage is provided by an NFS-capable external storage array.

The management cluster uses VMware vSAN for primary storage and NFS for secondary storage. The compute clusters are not restricted to any particular storage technology. For compute clusters, the decision on which technology to use is based on the performance, capacity, and capabilities (replication, deduplication, compression, etc.) required by the workloads that are running in the clusters.

Table 1. NFS Usage Design Decisions

Decision ID

Design Decision

Design Justification

Design Implication


NFS storage is presented to provide the following features.

  • A datastore for backup data

  • An export for archive data

  • A datastore for templates and ISOs

Separate primary virtual machine storage from backup data in case of primary storage failure.

vRealize Log Insight archiving requires a NFS export.

An NFS capable external array is required.