A lot of shops are using NFS for VMFS datastores. A lot of custom VMware storage arrays use it too like Tintri. Why? Well it brings some advantages to the tables. In a lot of cases the storage vendor has been able to tweak the protocol to work faster with vm’s. I won’t get into line speed questions but that is one to consider with 10GB NFS vs 8GB or 16GB fiber channel.
How is NFS different?
- The file system itself is not managed by the ESXi host, ESXi just uses the protocol.
- The burden of scaling is not placed upon the storage stack but instead the networking stack. If networking fails you loose everything.
- Since NFS uses ethernet multipathing is a complex situation that requires normally static link aggregation or dynamic LACP (802.3ad) (with multi-switch aggregation) You can also use multiple VMkernel networks on separate vSwitches and subnets.