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Install NetApp VAAI For NFX On vSphere 5.5

Data ONTAP 8.0.1 and later supports certain VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) features when the ESX host is running ESX 4.1 or later. These features help offload operations from the ESX host to the storage system and increase the network throughput. The ESX host enables the features automatically in the correct environment. You can determine the extent to which your system is using the VAAI features by checking the statistics contained in the VAAI counters.

The VAAI feature set consists of the following:

Extended copy

This feature enables the host to initiate the transfer of data between the source and destination without involving the host in the data transfer. This results in saving ESX CPU cycles and increasing the network throughput. The extended copy feature is used in scenarios such as cloning a virtual machine. When invoked by the ESX host, the extended copy feature copies the data within the Data ONTAP storage system rather than going through the host network.

Copy offload transfers data in the following ways:

Within a LUN

Between LUNs within a volume. If this feature cannot be invoked, the ESX host automatically uses the standard ESX copy operation.

Write Same

This feature offloads the work of writing a repeated pattern, such as all zeros, to a storage array. The ESX host uses this feature in scenarios such as zero-filling a file.

Verify and Write

This feature bypasses certain file access concurrency limitations, which speeds up operations such as booting up a virtual machine.


NFSv3 must be enabled on the storage system. VMware vSphere 5.0 or later must be available. Data ONTAP 8.0.1 and later supports

Check current VAAI state

To check the current state of VAAI on block storage systems we can run

esxcli storage core device vaai status get

and on NFS storage systems

esxcli storage nfs list

If you have NetApp VSC installed

Download the offline bundle in .zip format and then extract the VMware Installation Bundle .vib. Copy the plug-in .vib file, NetAppNasPlugin.vib, to the VSC installation directory. The path name is VSC_installation_directory\etc\vsc\web, where VSC_installation_directory is the directory where you installed VSC. If using the default installation location, the path is C:\Program Files\NetApp\Virtual Storage Console\etc\vsc\web\NetAppNasPlugin.vib.

Check that the file name of the .vib file that you downloaded matches the predefined name that VSC uses: NetAppNasPlugin.vib. If the file name does not match the predefined name, rename the .vib file. You do not need to restart the VSC client or the NetApp vSphere Plug-in Framework (NVPF) service.

Go to the NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI section of the Tools panel of Monitoring and Host Configuration, and then click Install to Host this can be done to all hosts in one go, however to take effect each must be and host must be rebooted.

Once the reboot complete confirm the storage is now enabled for VAAI using the method described above.

If you do not have NetApp VSC installed

If you do not have NetApp VSC installed or it is not working, you can still install the vib. To do this upload a copy of the extracted file NetAppNasPlugin.vib to a datastore which host has access to.

Open secure shell session with the host using PuTTy or similar, confirm you can see file on the datastore

ls /vmfs/volumes/<datastore name>/NetAppNasPlugin.vib

Once you have confirmed file can be seen, you can run

esxcli software vib install -v /vmfs/volumes/<datastore name>/NetAppNasPlugin.vib

Once installed reboot host, and once the reboot complete confirm the storage is now enabled for VAAI using the method described above.

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