When VMWare allowed NFS to be used a valid datastore for ESX, I wonder if they really knew what they were doing? Until that time, NFS was really a Unix-geek ghetto and not something that many people played with. Yes, you were starting to be able to run Oracle and some serious-workloads over NFS but I would argue quite strongly that it was VMWare which brought NFS as a storage consolidation protocol to the fore.
NetApp were doing pretty well but the introduction of NFS into ESX completely changed their outlook; before NFS and VMWare, NetApp were being forced to support block storage to allow them to gain really serious traction in the data-centre. It was an uphill struggle for NetApp to get their block storage play accepted by the market, a mixture of competitor FUD and internal naivety made this a long process.
But ESX over NFS allowed NetApp to become a serious player in the data-centre and pretty much at the expense of their great rival and VMWare owner, EMC. I'm not saying that NetApp would not be the runaway success they are today without this but it moved VMWare firmly and squarely into NetApp's sweet spot.
NFS is now being pushed as a way to simplify your storage infrastructure; something which will cause much amusement for many long-term sys-admins who have seen some real hashes made with NFS in traditional environments. NFS has always worked best in well-designed environments with simplicity kept in mind unfortunately it's 'ease of abuse' has allowed it to be abused time and time again.
However VMWare environments are architecturally simple and it is unlikely that we will see NFS abused in the same way, so here it makes a huge amount of sense.
Mounts are very easy manage and it is unlikely that you are going to get into horrible cross-mounting situations. The server-focused security model works very well and you only have a very limited number of users to worry about; in more traditional NFS environments, it was not uncommon to find UID and GUID mismatches; confusion often exasperated by the varying implementations of NIS often running along side NFS.
It is almost as if NFS was designed with VMWare in mind. Yet again, this is amusing because x86 virtualisation seriously damaged Sun's marketplace and was one of the factors leading to the eventual demise of Sun as an independent company.
So VMWare on NFS has arguably damaged the owners/creators of both NFS and VMWare. Funny how things turn out.