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What VAAI offloaded operations are supported by Data ONTAP?

Last Updated:

Applies to

  • Data ONTAP 7-Mode 
  • Clustered Data ONTAP
  • VMware vSphere Storage APIs - Array Integration (VAAI)
  • NetApp NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI


  • Data ONTAP provides native support for the following VAAI operations on SAN storage:
    • Copy offload
    • Atomic Test & Set (ATS) locking
    • Write Same
    • Out-of-space condition handling
    • Space reclamation
  • Data ONTAP does not provide native support for VAAI operations on NFS storage.
  • To add support for some VAAI operations, install the Netapp NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI on the ESXi host(s).
  • Once the plugin is installed, Data ONTAP can be configured to support the following VAAI operations on NFS storage:
    • Creation of thick VMDKs
    • Copy offload
  • For more detailed information on which primitives are supported per protocol and Data ONTAP type, refer to the chart below.
VAAI Category VAAI Primitive – Description Data ONTAP 7-Mode (8.2 and later) Clustered Data ONTAP (8.2 and later)


(Requires NetApp NFS Plugin for VAAI to be installed on ESXi)

Thin provisioning Extended Statistics – approximate space usage No Yes (Unique Block Reporting support is limited)
  Reserve Space – create thick VMDK (lazy or eager zero) Yes Yes
Copy offload (VM clone) Copy within the same volume Yes Yes
  Copy between volumes in same vFiler/SVM (same node) Yes Yes
  Copy between volumes in same SVM (different node) N/A Yes
  Copy between volumes in different SVM, same cluster N/A Yes


Thin Provisioning Write Same – zero disk blocks when new/uninitialized or cloning eager zeroed thick Yes Yes
  Out of Space conditions (VMs requesting additional space from thin provisioned datastores that are 100% used will be paused) Yes Yes
  Space Reclamation (UNMAP) – manually using esxcli storage vmfs unmap command, or automated in ESXi 6.5 Yes Yes
Scale Atomic Test & Set enhanced locking Yes Yes
Copy offload (VM clone or Storage vMotion) Copy within same volume Yes Yes
  Copy between volumes in same vFiler/SVM Yes Yes
  Copy between volumes in different 7-Mode controllers No N/A
  Copy between volumes in different SVM, same cluster N/A Yes
  • Note: Some primitives are only supported in certain circumstances. Refer to the list of caveats below.
    • When performing a Storage vMotion on NFS datastores, only cold migration is supported for VAAI copy offload.
      • Live Storage vMotion is not offloaded to storage.
    • When performing a copy offload operation on NFS datastores backed by Data ONTAP 8.2.1 7-Mode, copy offload fails to clone files greater than 64GB within the same single-instance storage (SIS) enabled volume.
      •  This issue is fixed in 8.2.1P1. For more information, see BUG 807264.
    • When using thin provisioning features on SAN datastores, the LUNs must have space allocation enabled.
    • When using copy offload operations on an ESXi 5.0 host, the host may fail with a purple diagnostic screen.

Additional Information

For more information on the NetApp NFS Plug-in for VMware VAAI, refer to the Documentation Library.


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