Use the vSAN file service to create file shares in the vSAN datastore that client workstations or VMs can access. The data stored in a file share can be accessed from any device that has access rights.

vSAN File Service is a layer that sits on top of vSAN to provide file shares. It currently supports NFSv3 and NFSv4.1 file shares. vSAN File Service comprises of vSAN Distributed File System (vDFS) which provides the underlying scalable filesystem by aggregating vSAN objects, a Storage Services Platform which provides resilient file server end points and a control plane for deployment, management, and monitoring. File shares are integrated into the existing vSAN Storage Policy Based Management, and on a per-share basis. vSAN file service brings in capability to host NFS shares directly on the vSAN cluster.

When you configure vSAN file service, vSAN creates a single VDFS distributed file system for the cluster which will be used internally for management purposes. A file service VM (FSVM) is placed on each host. The FSVMs manage file shares in the vSAN datastore. Each FSVM contains an NFS file server.

A static IP address pool should be provided as an input while enabling file service workflow. One of the IP addresses is designated as the primary IP address. The primary IP address can be used for accessing all the shares in the file services cluster with the help of NFSv4.1 referrals. An NFS server is started for every IP address provided in the IP pool. An NFS share is exported by only one NFS server. However, the NFS shares are evenly distributed across all the NFS servers. To provide computing resources that help manage access requests, the number of IP addresses must be equal to the number of hosts in the vSAN cluster.