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Configuring NFS on the QNAP TS-251 with VAAI for vSphere ESXi 5.5

October 4, 2014

I recently purchased the QNAP TS-251 to use as a shared storage solution for my VMware NSX Lab environment.  QNAP offers both iSCSI and NFS connectivity, however in my lab environment I will only be using NFS.  I have multiple ESXi hosts in my lab environment connected to a Cisco Cisco Catalyst 2960-8TC-L Compact Gigabit switch.  Although the QNAP TS-251 has dual GbE adapters, I will only be connecting one interface at this time.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.20.32 AM

Configuring connectivity for a vSphere ESXi host involves the following:

  • Configure NFS for QNAP – Disable Cache, Enable NFS Service, Create Shared Folder(s), Configure Access Permissions.
  • Configure NFS for the vSphere ESXi Host(s) – Install VAAI Support (Download, Upload, Install QNAP NFS VIB), Create a unique VMkernel Port, Add Storage.
  • Test the environment.

Configure NFS for QNAP

1. Disable Write Caching.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.21.16 AM

Open Control Panel, System Settings, Hardware then select the General tab.  Uncheck the Enable write cache (EXT4 delay allocation) box.

2. Enable the NFS Network Service.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.22.06 AM

Open Control Panel, Network Services, Win/Mac/NFS then select the NFS Service tab.  Check the Enable NFS Service box.

3. Create the Shared Folders you will use in your VMware Lab environment.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.11.31 AM

Open Control Panel, Privilege Settings, Shared Folders then select the Shared Folder tab.  Click the Create button, then select Shared folder.  Enter a folder name e.g. SharedVMs.  Then click on the Create button.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.12.03 AM

4. Configure Access Permissions.  Once the folder has been created click on the Access Permissions icon (looks like a folder with a hand under it).  When the Shared Folder properties page appears, click on the Select permission type: drop down list and choose NFS host access.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.14.20 AM

Next, click on the Access right: drop down list and select No Limit.  Verify that the Squash option: is NO_ROOT_SQUASH.  In the Allowed IP Address or Domain Name section you can use the Any wildcard * , or you can enter the IP Address of the VMkernel Port you are using on your VMware ESXi host to connect to the QNAP TS-251.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 11.14.48 AM

Configure NFS for vSphere ESXi 5.5

With the QNAP configuration complete, the next step is to configure the vSphere ESXi 5.5 Host using the vSphere Client.  Although vSphere Storage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) is not a required, it provides the following benefits which make it a worthwhile installation.

  • VAAI NAS Space Reserve – Allows the creation of Thick Provisioned virtual disks.
  • Full File Clone – Enables the QNAP storage to make full copies of data within the NAS without needing to have the ESXi host read and write the data.  This offloads processing to the QNAP, and significantly reduces the amount of network traffic generated to create a clone of a virtual machine.
  • Extended Statistics – Enables vSphere to query space utilization details for virtual disks on QNAP NFS datastores.

1. Download the VAAI VIB from QNAP.  VAAI NFS requires the installation of VAAI plugin on each ESXi hosts.  I downloaded the file to my desktop, and extracted the contents.

2. Upload the VAAI VIB to a local datastore. Open the vSphere client and login to your ESXi host.  Select your ESXi host in the Inventory panel, then click on the Configuration tab in the right-hand pane.  Under Hardware click Storage then right click on a local datastore and choose Browse Datastore… from the context menu.  Use the Datastore Browser to upload the QNAP-QNPNasPlugin-1.0-1.0i.vib file to your local datastore.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 1.45.26 PM (3)

3. Enable SSH on the vSphere ESXi Host.  We will need to use the command-line to install the VIB, this will require SSH or Console access to the vSphere ESXi host.  Select your ESXi host in the Inventory panel, then click on the Configuration tab in the right-hand pane.  Under Software, click Security Profile.  In the Services section, click Properties.  In the Label section select SSH, then click the Options button – select Start and stop manually.  Click Start to enable the service, then click OK.

4. Use PuTTy to start an SSH Session to your vSphere ESXi host and install the VIB by executing the command esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/VMFS00/QNAP_QNPNasPlugin_1.0-1.0i.vib.  Verify the Installation Result.  Note: VMFS00 is the name of my local VMFS datastore.

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5. Create a unique VMkernel port.  In my lab environment the QNAP resides on the Management Network, therefore I will not be adding an additional VMkernel port.

6. Add the Shared Folder to your ESXi Host.  Select your ESXi host in the Inventory panel, then click on the Configuration tab in the right-hand pane.  Under Hardware click Storage then click the Add Storage… link.  At the Select Storage Type dialog box, select the Network File System radio button then choose Next.  At the Locate Network File System enter the IP address of your QNAP in the Server: text box and /share/YourSharedFolderName in the Folder: text box.  Enter a Datastore Name, I typically use the share name here.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 2.13.54 PM


Without VAAI you can only select Thin Provision to create a virtual disk.  To ensure that VAAI has been enabled attempt to build a virtual machine, if the Thick Provision options are available the VIB has been installed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 5.03.53 PM


More about the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS – QNAP recently released the TS-251 Turbo NAS, it is currently offered online for $339.99 + free S/H from SuperBiiz.  Recent reviews from PC Magazine and SmallNetBuilder made a compelling argument for making the TS-251 the shared storage solution for my VMware NSX Lab Environment.  PC Magazine awarded the QNAP TS-251 Turbo NAS the coveted Editor’s Choice Award. SmallNetBuilder now ranks the TS-251 number 1 on the NAS Charts and details the features and performance in the article QNAP TS-251 & TS-451 Turbo NASes Reviewed.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 6.39.43 AM

Hardware Specifications:

CPU Intel® Celeron® 2.41GHz dual-core processor J1800 (Bay Trail D)
Ethernet Intel WGI210TA (x2) 1 GbE
RAM 1 GB DDR3L SoDIMM (expandable to 8 GB)
Flash 512 MB
SATA Asmedia ASM1061 dual-port PCIe to SATA
Power Consumption Standby: 10W, In operation: 19W (with 2 x 1TB HDD)

Reported Write and Read Performance Numbers in MB/s:

Resource Test Write Read
SmallNetBuilder iSCSI 100.7 101.1
NASPT 108.4 105.8
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Luis Galan permalink
    April 16, 2016 7:01 pm

    Thank you for your article! It Helped me out sooo much!


  1. VMware NSX Lab Environment: Part 3 – Storage Hardware | NSX Insight

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