So Hans Lenze has posted a fantastic how-to on setting up a Windows Server 2012 based NFS export. If you need to create an NFS export fast and without an impact on the host operating system, this is not the best way to go. I use FreeNFS instead, an awesome, very light and very stable single .exe daemon.

After you download it, just run the executable. It’ll position itself as an icon in the notification area:

The application doesn’t have too many options. Just set a ‘root folder’ path (‘D:NFS’ in my case), and you’re all set.

Gotchas

There’s two gotchas, though.

  • It’s not very clear which folder you need to mount on your ESXi-host.
    The solution is quite simple: the root folder isn’t part of the folder path that you need to enter in ESXi; so ‘D:NFS’ is in no way part of the path. You need to create a folder inside of ‘D:NFS’ and enter that relative path into the ESXi ‘Add Storage’ wizard.
  • One small side-note, watch the case of the folder names. In my case, I had to enter ‘/Export’ with a capital ‘E’, because the folder itself was named ‘Export’.

Example

  • The root folder set in FreeNFS is D:NFS.
  • I have a folder, D:NFSExport on my Windows machine. This machine has IP-address 10.10.10.10.
  • In the ‘Add Storage’ wizard in ESXi, I enter ‘10.10.10.10’ as the Server and ‘/Export’ as the Folder.