vSphere 5.x, NFS, VAAI-NAS & IPv6 Support

ipv6A short note to clarify something that has come up a number of times in recent weeks here at VMware. There have been a number of discussions about whether or not we support NFS over IPv6 on vSphere 5.x,  and again, on whether or not we support the VAAI-NAS primitives in the same context.

VAAI is an API for offloading tasks to the storage array, but for offloading tasks to NAS arrays, storage vendors need to create  their own plugins for the ESXi hosts to achieve this. You can learn more about VAAI-NAS by clicking here. So what about IPv6 support and NFS? And VAAI-NAS?

Unfortunately, our documentation is a little misleading on this. In the IPv6 Support section in the vSphere 5.1 Documentation Center, it states the following:

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) support in ESXi provides the ability to use Virtual Infrastructure features such as NFS in an IPv6 environment.

And if we then look at the Routing NFS Connections in the vSphere 5.5 Documentation Center, it states:

The NFS traffic in this environment does not support IPv6.

One might assume then that NFS traffic outside of this environment (non-routable L2) supports IPv6. That is not the case. In neither doc (5.1 or 5.5) does it state that VMware supports NFS over IPv6, nor does it state support for VAAI-NAS over IPv6. The bottom line is that we DO NOT support it. NFSv3 over IPv6 in vSphere 5.5, with or without VAAI, is “NOT” supported at this time. It may work in some scenarios but we have not officially tested it and will not be supporting it. We’re also aware that some of our storage partners are claiming support for IPv6 over NFS. From a VMware perspective, we are not supporting this.

We are aware that the 5.x documentation is not very clear on this. We are making changes to the documentation right now to make this absolutely clear.