With the VMware Host Client, you can create a Network File System (NFS) datastore to store virtual disks and to use as a central repository for ISO images, virtual machines, and so on. 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. vSphere supports versions 3 and 4.1 of the NFS protocol.

The ESXi host can mount an NFS volume and use it for its storage needs.

Typically, the NFS volume or directory is created by a storage administrator and is exported from the NFS server. You do not need to format the NFS volume with a local file system, such as VMFS. Instead, you mount the volume directly on the ESXi hosts and use it to store and boot virtual machines in the same way that you use the VMFS datastores.

In addition to storing virtual disks on NFS datastores, you can use NFS as a central repository for ISO images, virtual machine templates, and so on. If you use the datastore for the ISO images, you can connect the CD-ROM device of the virtual machine to an ISO file on the datastore. You then can install a guest operating system from the ISO file.

When you use NFS storage, follow the specific guidelines related to NFS server configuration, networking, NFS datastores, and so on.