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Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files
Recover data from damaged or formatted VMFS disks or VMDK files

VMware NFS vs VMFS comparison: features and benefits

vmfs vs nfs

This article is dedicated to VMware NFS vs VMFS comparison.

Here you will find out:

  • how VMFS differs from NFS
  • VMware VMFS vs NFS datastores: differences and benefits
  • when DiskInternals can help you

Read it to find out all that you need!

Storage types at the ESXi logical level: VMware VMFS vs NFS

NFS is a file-level network file system and VMFS is a block-level virtual machine file system. NFS, VMFS, vSAN, and VVols are different types of datastores that can be used with VMware. At the logical level of a VM, there are several basic types of storage:

  • On a thick disk with an impatient zeroing released and subsequent removal of the previous content. The process of creation is quite lengthy and energy-consuming, with all the disk space reserved. Other VMs cannot use this free space.
  • The lazy, zeroed fat VMDK also allocates all space at creation time and contains stale data on the physical media. To write data to a new block, you must write zero. This increases the IOPS for new blocks. Disk space is also not available for use by other virtual machines.
  • A thin VMDK is where the allocation and zeroing of space occurs at the request of the user when necessary. Free space in this case is available for use by other virtual machines.

Network File System (NFS) in VMware

NFS, as mentioned above, is a network file system that was originally created only for UNIX systems. The NFS client embedded in a ESXi host uses the NFS protocol over TCP / IP to operate a designated NFS volume located on the NAS. An ESXi host can mount an NFS volume and then use it for its storage needs. VSphere supports multiple versions of NFS versions: 3 and 4.1.

Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) in VMware

VMware uses VMFS to store virtual machines as well as snapshots. VMFS is the most suitable cluster file system for virtualization. It can be shared by multiple ESXi hosts and virtual machines. With it, you can simultaneously write and read data in one storage location and vice versa. VMFS-based datastores use the native vSphere Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) format, which is optimized for storing virtual machines.

VMware VMFS vs NFS datastores: differences and benefits

These file systems immediately differ in their level of utilization: VMFS is at the block level and NFS is at the file level.

The VMFS datastore is created by vSphere, while the NFS file system is created on the storage side and mounted with only the shared folder on vSphere. You should choose NFS when you need to use CIFS shared folders. In other cases, it is better to choose VMFS in order to avoid possible limitations in the VMware environment.

Protecting your data is possible with VMFS Recovery

If NFS or VMFS does not work and you need to recover data from storage, use VMFS Recovery. This app allows you to recover data from any inaccessible or damaged disks in automatic mode, thanks to the Recovery Wizard. The recovered information is exported to local or remote locations (including FTP), and any virtual disk can be converted to local for access (for example, in Windows Explorer). Another useful and accessible feature is Unicode support.

Check out these instructions on how to use DiskInternals VMFS Recovery:

  • Download this app from the DiskInternals website for Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10 or Windows Server 2006-2019.
  • After launching the application, connect via SSH, if necessary. Open the disk and start scanning.
  • After this, VMFS Recovery will find all VMDK files and mount them.
  • Then check the recovered files for their integrity.
  • If everything suits you, it's time to buy a license and export all found or certain files at your discretion.

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