I’ve written a great many post around the vSphere Storage Appliance (VSA), a selection of which can be found at this link. However I don’t think I’ve ever explained how the NFS datastores (which are presented from the VSA appliances to the ESXi hosts participating in the cluster) can also be presented to other ESXi hosts that are not participating in the VSA cluster.

This can be done in two ways:

  • Any ESXi hosts that are in the same data center object in the vCenter inventory will automatically have the NFS datastores mounted. There are no additional steps that need to be done by the administrator.
  • Any ESXi hosts that are added to the data center object in the vCenter inventory after the VSA cluster has been deployed can have the NFS datastore mounted manually, but only after the ACLs (Access Control Lists) have been updated on the VSA appliances. This can be done via the WSCLI utility found on the vCenter server after the VSA Manager has been installed. There are two steps; the first is to identify the NFS exports and the second is to allow this newly added ESXi host to mount the NFS datastores. A very detailed KB article describes how to do this.

Bottom line – ESXi hosts which are not participating in the VSA Cluster can still mount the shared NFS datastores presented from the VSA cluster. This allows the VSA to scale much higher than 3 nodes. For instance, 3 ESXi hosts could be providing the NFS datastores, but you could have an additional 5 hosts sharing those datastores. This gives you 8 ESXi hosts accessing the same shared storage, should you wish to scale out your environment.

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About the Author

Cormac Hogan

Cormac Hogan is a Senior Staff Engineer in the Office of the CTO in the Storage and Availability Business Unit (SABU) at VMware. He has been with VMware since April 2005 and has previously held roles in VMware’s Technical Marketing and Technical Support organizations. He has written a number of storage related white papers and have given numerous presentations on storage best practices and vSphere storage features. He is also the co-author of the “Essential Virtual SAN” book published by VMware Press.