In this tutorial, I’ll discuss how to setup VMware vSphere virtual machines with Windows server 2012 Server for NFS cluster as backend storage.
VMware has supported running virtual machines hosted by its ESX server over the NFS v3 protocol. In this configuration, virtual machines running on VMware ESX have their VMDKs (virtual disks) located on a remote file share that is exported over the NFS protocol (Figure 1).
In this tutorial, I will cover two concepts: Windows server 2012 Server for NFS cluster setup and configuring VMware vSphere with Server for NFS cluster as storage. Explaining how to configure vSphere virtual machines with Server for NFS cluster can best be accomplished by way of a simple example. In this tutorial we'll consider the following infrastructure scenario:
Windows server cluster nodes running Server for NFS: zzqclustertest1, zzqclustertest2
Windows server storage server running iSCSI target server: zzqclusterstor
Mount point for iSCSI server: E:\
Windows cluster role network name: nfsclusterap
Name of Server for NFS share on the cluster: /share
For the purpose of configuration, we assume we have already setup the vSphere server with server version 5.0. Windows server cluster node is running Windows server 2012 with Server for NFS role installed. Windows server storage server is running Windows server 2012 with iSCSI target server role installed. Two cluster nodes construct a failover cluster with share storage provided by iSCSI target server.
Let’s assume we already established the cluster (named nfsclusterap in our case), now pick one of cluster node (in our case zzqclustertest1) and open Failover Cluster Manager. Then connect to our cluster (Figure 2)
If this cluster is found, failover cluster manager will show the details of this cluster. We can use both UI and PowerShell Cmdlet to create a Server for NFS share for this cluster. Note that the share should be created under “Shares” folder of shared storage mount point of the cluster (In our case, E:\Shares\). To allow vSphere mount this share, make sure that following options have been chosen:
Allow root access
Enable unmapped access
Set permission of machine running Server for NFS role to readwrite
Once you download it and install, open up the application and connect to the vCenter through its IP address or host name (in our case: vSphereHost). User/Password authentication is required. (Figure 5) Use the ESX server credentials for User/Password authentication.
Now we are going to add our Server for NFS share set up in the previous step as a data store for vSphere. Just select “Configuration” tab from horizontal bar and click “Storage” on the vertical bar. (Figure 6)
Now let’s create the data storage. Click “Add Storage…” button on the up right corner of the UI and select Network File System as storage type. (Figure 7)
After that, we choose the name of our Server for NFS server cluster and the share we created before (in our case, server cluster name is “nfsclusterap” and the share is “/share”). Then we pick a name for that storage and create it. (Figure 8)
Now we can create a virtual machine from vSphere “Create New Virtual Machine” wizard. More details of that can be found from vSphere manual from vSphere Document Center: