This describes the error message and workaround of loading the multiextent kernel module in order to power on Simulate ONTAP on ESX 5.1 and greater. This is because ONTAP 5.1 and greater do not load the multiextent kernel module. The command to load the multiextent kernel module does not persist across reboots. The long term fix is to consolidate the sparse multiextent vmdks in a copy process through vmkfstools per the referenced KB article.
The question is, could we package the VMDKs as separate small VMDKs versus multiextent to avoid this error?