3host vCenter w NFS , How to shut NFS box down? (while hosts stay on)

***(see update/solution at the bottom of this opening post)***

Im running 3x 6.5 esxi hosts, with VCSA managing them (no DRS, no HA, no Clusters even). While all hosts do have direct attached storage (ie each host has a few enterprise NVMe drives connected locally), about 25x of my VMs are from NFS storage (and about 10x VMs actually inuse/powered on) via my FreeNas server (physical FN server). (This is my home/office setup, im the only “user” of these VMs).

I need to install some new pcie cards in the nfs freenas box, so ill need to shut freenas down for about 20 minutes, while the 3x hosts remain online. I have read everything i can find on proper procedure/steps on vCenter, prior to shutting down NFS/Freenas. (actually Im a bit surprised there are not more forum posts on this process/scenario).


I clearly get that i need to shutdown (or sVM) any VMs that are on the NFS Datastores, **but The only part im getting hung up on, is some posts say i also then need to un-register all VMs that reside on NFS datastores, prior to unmounting those NFS datastores (else i will likely get “Un-Mount Failed: Datastore in use”) – other posts say you dont need to un-register vmx’s.**


**Is this correct? Do i really need to un-register all my NFS VMs also?** Im really trying to avoid the un-register part as we are talking alot of .vmx files i will later have to track down via the slow datastore browser, one by one, to “add to inventory”.

I would just storage vMotion all the nfs VMs to my Direct Attached DSes but a few are too large for that. Any input is much appreciated. thanks!

EDIT; One thing i forgot to mention- my vCenter content library (just holds templates and ISOs) is also located on the NFS box… prob does not change much as thats technically inactive data (until i deploy or mount an ISO from it). Ill update this main post with the results. Also, i do make it a point to always remove the CD/DVD device from all my VMs (once im done the inital VM setup). I also remove the sata controller as well, as that is really only needed for the CD/DVR device. tks


**Final edit- Wanted to update this- All went well, exactly as others described- that is: I just shutdown all VMs that were on the NFS Datastores (or had VMDKs located on NFS DSes), then shutdown my NAS (freenas 11.2u4), at which point vCenter showed those NFS datastores as Unavailable (in red color), but all else continued to work (ie my VMs running from direct attached hosts disks). About 30min later when i started FreeNas back up, vcenter instantly showed the datastores as online, and i was able to restart the VMs (about 15x of them, not one problem).**

**VERY INTERESTING- I accidentally missed one VM that is entirely on one of the NFS DSes, it was left running the entire time. This is a pretty heavy IO VM, its a win 2016 server os (or maybe win10), running Milestone Xprotect (cctv NVR software, uses MSSQL). Its recording 8x cameras from the internet (vpns), so it constantly has ~8 to 12 MBit of networking incoming + disk IO (constant recording). When i shutdown NAS, i noticed my monitor/screen running Xprotect Client for this NVR showed the 8x cams as offline/re-connecting, whats crazy is that 30min later when i restarted NAS, it came right back on as if nothing had happened (but this entire time the OS had 0 disk IO access!). Obviously NOT good/ideal, but interesting that it didnt freeze/bluescreen or anything (i do have veeam backups just incase disk errors popup down road)!**

**So thanks again for all the quick and helpful replies! I have added this info into my notes for future ref.**

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  1. I’d just shutdown the VMs, then once nothing is actively using it, shutdown the NAS… VMware will have a bit of a whinge the datastore is missing until the NAS is back online but should re-connect fine aftwards.

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