Provisioning datastores

Provisioning a datastore creates a logical container for your virtual machines and their virtual machine disks (VMDKs). You can provision a datastore, and then attach the datastore to a single host, to all of the hosts in a cluster, or to all of the hosts in a datacenter.

Before you begin

About this task

The Provision Datastore option enables you to specify a storage capability profile for the datastore. Storage capability profiles help in specifying consistent service level objectives (SLOs) and simplify the provisioning process. You can specify a storage capability profile only if you have enabled VASA Provider. The ONTAP tools for VMware vSphere supports the following protocols:

VSC can create a datastore on either an NFS volume or a LUN:

  • The 9.8 version of ONTAP tools supports provisioniong of VMFS5 and VMFS6 datastores up to the maximum VMFS LUN and volume size of 64TB when used with ASA and approved AFF systems running ONTAP 9.8 and later.

    On other platforms the maximum LUN size supported is 16TB.

  • VMware does not support NFSv4.1 with datastore clusters.

If a storage capability profile is not specified during provisioning, you can later use the Storage Mapping page to map a datastore to a storage capability profile. You can apply storage QoS settings, throughput ceiling (Max IOPS) and throughput floor (Min IOPS) on data VMDK files of virtual machines provisioned on FlexGroup backed datastore. QoS settings can be applied either at datastore level or at individual virtual machine level by right clicking the datastore. The right click option is available only on those datastores or virtual machines that are backed by FlexGroup datastore. After the QoS is applied to a datastore, any pre-existing datastore or virtual machine QoS settings are overridden. QoS settings cannot be applied at a datastore level or at a virtual machine level for datastores that are provisioned on direct SVM's, because ONTAP does not support QoS at SVM management level.


  1. You can access the datastore provisioning wizard using one of the following:
    If you select from ... Perform the following...
    vSphere Client home page
    1. Click Hosts and Clusters.
    2. In the navigation pane, select the datacenter on which you want to provision the datastore.
    3. To specify the hosts to mount the datastore, see the next step.
    ONTAP tools home page
    1. Click Overview.
    2. Click Getting Started tab.
    3. Click Provision button.
    4. Click Browse to select the destination to provision the datastore as per the next step.
  2. Specify the hosts on which you want to mount the datastore.
    To make the datastore available to... Do this...
    All of the hosts in a datacenter Right-click a datacenter, and then select NetApp ONTAP tools > Provision Datastore .
    All of the hosts in a cluster Right-click a host cluster, and then select NetApp ONTAP tools > Provision Datastore .
    A single host Right-click a host, and select NetApp ONTAP tools > Provision Datastore .
  3. Complete the fields in the New Datastore dialog box to create the datastore.
    Most of the fields in the dialog box are self-explanatory. The following table describes some of the fields for which you might require guidance.
    Section Description
    General The General section of the New Datastore provisioning dialog box provides options to enter the destination, name, size, type, and protocol for the new datastore. You can select NFS or VMFS protocol to configure a traditional datastore. This release allows you to configure a VMFS datastore of maximum size 64TB. You can select the option Distribute datastore data across the ONTAP cluster to provision a FlexGroup volume on the storage system. Selecting this option automatically deselects the checkbox Use Storage Capability Profile for provisioning. For FlexGroup datastore provisioning, ONTAP cluster that are 9.8 and above only are listed for selection.The vVols datastore type is used to configure a vVols datastore. If VASA Provider is enabled, then you can also decide whether to use storage capability profiles. The Datastore cluster option is available only for traditional datastores. You should use the Advanced option to specify VMFS5 or VMFS6 file system.
    Storage system You can select one of the listed storage capability profiles if you have selected the option in the General section. If you are provisioning a FlexGroup datastore, then storage capability profile for this datastore is not supported. The system-recommended values for the storage system and storage virtual machine are populated for ease. But you can modify the values if required.
    Storage attributes By default, VSC populates the recommended values for Aggregates and Volumes options. You can customize the values based on your requirements. Aggregate selection is not supported for FlexGroup datastores as ONTAP manages the aggregate selection. The Space reserve option available under Advanced menu is also populated to give optimum results.
    Summary You can review the summary of the parameters you specified for the new datastore.There is a new field Volume Style available in the Summary page that enables you to differentiate the type of datastore created. The Volume Style can be either FlexVol or FlexGroup.

Note: A FlexGroup that is part of a traditional datastore cannot shrink below the existing size but can grow by 120% maximum. Default snapshots are enabled on these FlexGroup volumes.

  1. In the Summary section, click Finish.