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NetApp Knowledge Base

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 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. For more information on the space allocation setting, see What does the LUN option space_alloc do?. For more information on enabling space allocation on a LUN, refer to your ONTAP command manual.
  • When using copy offload operations on an ESXi 5.0 host, the host may fail with a purple diagnostic screen. The issue has been corrected in ESXi 5.0U2 and later. If you are running one of the affected versions of ESXi and cannot upgrade, disable copy offload. For more information on disabling copy offload, see How to disable SAN VAAI Copy Offload on an ESX/ESXi host.

Additional Information

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