How to create and mount an NFS datastore on ESXi using a Drobo 5N

This quick guide will run you through installing an NFSv3 server on your Drobo 5N and then mounting it on an ESXi host- the same setup can also be used for adding the NFS share using vSphere.

I will be setting this up on a VMWare ESXi 6.5 host, running off an Intel NUC and my NFS datastore will be hosted using my Drobo 5N

Note: Make sure you have the latest Drobo Dashboard and firmware installed on your Drobo before proceeding.

How to create the NFSv3 datastore

Open Drobo Dashboard and login with your Admin credentials

Navigate to DroboApps

Select Network Applications and select NFSv3 and click Install to install the NFSv3 application


The NFSv3 application uses the inbuilt Drobo Shares functionality to allow a mount path, this will only accept shares which have Everyone specified with Read/Write permissions. In the Drobo Dashboard navigate to Shares

Click on Share Settings

Click on Add

Give your new Share a name such as ‘NFS_Datastore’ and click Ok

On the right hand side select Everyone until the Pen appears, this will allow Everyone to have Read/Write access to the share click Ok

NFS Datastore

You have now created your NFS share, navigate back to DroboApps and NFSv3 and click Configure

Navigate down to select Rescan to rescan the Share list and permissions

Once the rescan has been completed look in the Exports log for your share, it should be listed at the bottom and take note of the mount path – as you will need this later to mount your datastore.

How to mount the NFSv3 datastore

Now open Internet Explorer or another browser and connect to your ESXi host

Navigate to the Storage pane


Select New Datastore and click Mount NFS datastore and click Next

Type in the name you want to name your NFS datastore – I am following my own naming standard so: DATASTORE_NFSv3_Hotdog

Type in the IP address of your NFS server (which is your Drobo) and then type in the mount path that was given to you by the NFS export log on the Drobo in the previous steps

Once that is filled out click Next, verify the information is complete and click Finish to mount your NFS datastore, you should now be able to create a VMDK or VM on your network share and share it between hosts.

You can test that your host has read/write access to the datastore by selecting the NFS datastore and click Actions, Browse and creating a new Directory and verifying that it gets created without an issue.

If you get permission issues – make sure that Everyone is set on the Share in the Drobo Dashboard and in ESXi – Navigate to Networking, Firewall Rules and make sure NFS Client is Enabled and the properties either has All Connections from all IP addresses or the IP of your Drobo is assigned.

Firewall Rules

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