I am wondering whether the simulator supports pNFS with both MDS and DS nodes, or just an MDS? I am thinking maybe it does not support DS nodes since that is similar to clustering but wanted to confirm.
Our public simulator is just a capacity limited version of our regular controller environment, so it supports essentially everything that our physical systems do (with the exclusion of fibre channel and nvmeof). We have a whitepaper on pNFS implementation available at https://www.netapp.com/us/media/tr-4063.pdf
I've dealt with NFS for many many years, but not pNFS. Based on my reading of that paper, our systems act as both metadata (MDS) and data servers (DS). Even if run in a single controller environment, all of our services still run in a "cluster" implementation, so I believe a single node simulator will still run those personalities. There are instructions available for expanding it to a dual-single node cluster (vs a regular HA pair), if it comes to that.
Hope this helps! Please feel free to post any follow up questions.
In our object heirarchy, logical interfaces like IPs used for NFS belong to the storage virtual machine (SVM) and not nodes, but if you do want to test "indirect" access being referred correctly, yes, you would need to have a two node cluster and have the LIF used for access on a different node.