In vSphere, Virtual Volumes supports NVMe over Fibre Channel and NVMe over TCP protocols.

When you use this protocol, after you register the storage provider (VASA), the system automatically completes the underlying setup. You only create the datastore. The virtual protocol endpoints and connections are handled by the storage provider.
Note: Starting with vSphere 8.0 U2, third-party MPPs support NVMe with Virtual Volumes. For more information about MPPs, see Multipathing Concepts and Acronyms.

Be familiar with the following concepts specific to the configuration of NVMe with Virtual Volumes.

The graphic demonstrates how components, such as VASA provider and vPEs, interact.

Virtual Volume Namespace

Generally, a namespace can be considered an NVMe equivalent of a LUN. Each type of virtual volume, such as data, configuration, or swap virtual volume, creates a namespace with a 1:1 virtual volume to namespace ratio. The namespace limits depend on the array vendor.

Asymmetrical Namespace Access (ANA) Group

With SCSI or NFS Virtual Volumes implementation, the storage container logically groups the virtual volume objects. With NVMe, grouping of the virtual volumes depends on the array. Generally, at the array, the virtual volumes namespaces are grouped into an ANA group. The array determines the number of ANA groups, each having a unique ANAGRPID within the NVM subsystem. Virtual volume namespaces are allocated and active only on BIND request to the VASA provider. The BIND request also adds the namespace to the ANA group. A namespace remains allocated and active until the last host unbinds the virtual volume.

NVMe Virtual Protocol Endpoint

With SCSI or NFS protocols, protocol endpoints represent a proxy LUN or an NFS mount point. These protocol points are called static.

Unlike a static protocol point, the NVMe protocol endpoint is virtual. This protocol endpoint is a logical representation of the ANA group where the virtual volumes reside. Until a VM is powered on, the NVMe protocol point doesn’t exist. Once the VM is powered on, the NVMe protocol point is created, so that the host can access the virtual volumes in the ANA group.

For information about viewing the NVMe virtual protocol endpoints in the vSphere Client, see Review NVMe Protocol Endpoints.

Configure NVMe with Virtual Volumes

Follow these steps to configure NVMe with Virtual Volumes on your ESXi host.



  1. Register the storage provider.
    The screenshot shows the registered storage provider.
  2. Create a Virtual Volumes datastore.

    When creating the datastore, select the storage containers that support NVMe capability. For information, see Create a Virtual Volumes Datastore in vSphere Environment.

    The screenshot shows the mounted Virtual Volumes datastore.
  3. If you use NVMe over TCP, add a controller.
    See Add Controllers for NVMe over Fabrics.
    Note: You do not need to configure the controller for NVMe over Fibre Channel. After you create the datastore, the system discovers controllers.

    The screenshot shows the discovered controllers.