There is a lot of confusion on the web about what is the largest size of a VMDK file on a NFS mounted datastore for VMware vSphere and ESX. Today, I was able to confirm that the largest vmdk you can create on an NFS mounted datastore is 2TB minus 512KB. Yes that's the same as for a VMFS formatted datastore.
There was lot confusion because I thought the size of a file on an NFS mounted export is restricted by the underlying storage device. I called both VMware and NetApp about this issue. VMware support told me what I already thought the answer was (Storage vendor restriction) and NetApp support said they are not sure and will research.
So I decided to try creating a 1.99, 2.0, 2.1, 3,4, and 5 TB vmdks on both NetApp and Windows 2008 NFS storage. I got the same error message stating
DiskCapControl: ... Out of Range ... ( )
for all sizes except 1.99 which is less than 2TB-512KB.
Hopefully someone out there will find this info helpful.