I have a problem with ESXi 5.1 NFS Storage that is causing me to pull my hair out.
I built a dedicated datastore machine with Server 2008 R2 installed. I then installed a number of 3TB hard drives which I then configured for NFS compatibility. I was then able to succesfully, through ESXi, create a few lovely NFS Datastores and all was well. When testing these stores they worked perfectly, well almost!
I am able to happily move Data between these stores and ESXi except after a certain amount of data transfer I suddenly see that my Datastores become greyed out and are then no longer available. For example, I recently tried to install the Quantum VMpro OVF template and when I point this OVF at one of my datastores the install goes well until the last few seconds of completion, usually at about 30 seconds left to go, the datastores grey out and suddenly become unavailable. This happens on all of my external NFS datastores and at exactly the same time every time.
The interesting thing is that I dont get the same problem with a Datastore disk thats physically installed on the host machine, everything transfers and works perfectly in this case. Its only the remote NFS stores that do this.
Its then that an error message pops up to say that there was a network issue and the Datastores are no longer available. After I cancel the installation, a few minutes later the Datastores suddenly become available and are no longer greyed out. There is then a partial record of the transfer left on the datastore.
The same thing occures when I try to move a VMdk machine to the same datastores. After a certain amount of time, which i am unsure exactly, the same error pops up. Its like the NFS storage machine goes to sleep or something. I have checked all the time outs on the NFS datastore machine and everything is set to NEVER go into sleep or spin down.
Its strange though that all my NFS datastores would disconnect at the same time. Any ideas?
I ended up creating a dedicated FreeNAS data server. I found that windows only works for small files and doesn't really work well with Esxi at all. No amount of fiddling made a difference. I recommend using a dedicated FreenNAS Linux machine and then point everything to that. Works very well and very quick.