In vSphere, the inventory is a collection of virtual and physical objects on which you can place permissions, monitor tasks and events, and set alarms. You can group most inventory objects by using folders to more easily manage them.

All inventory objects, with the exception of hosts, can be renamed to represent their purposes. For example, they can be named after company departments or locations or functions.


Managed object names cannot exceed 214 bytes (UTF-8 encoded).

vCenter Server monitors and manages the following inventory objects:

Data Centers

Unlike folders, which are used to organize specific object types, a data center is an aggregation of all the different types of objects used to work in virtual infrastructure.

Within each data center, there are four separate hierarchies.

  • Virtual machines (and templates)

  • Hosts (and clusters)

  • Networks

  • Datastores

Each VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC has a single data center named SDDC-Datacenter. The data center defines the namespace for networks and datastores. The names for these objects must be unique within a data center. You cannot have two datastores with the same name within a single data center. Virtual machines, templates, and clusters need not be unique within the data center, but must be unique within their folder.


A collection of ESXi hosts and associated virtual machines intended to work together as a unit. When you add a host to a cluster, the host’s resources become part of the cluster’s resources. vCenter Server manages the resources of all hosts in a cluster as one unit.


A virtual representation of physical storage resources in the data center. A datastore is the storage location for virtual machine files. In an on-premises SDDC, these physical storage resources can come from the local SCSI disk of the ESXi host, the Fibre Channel SAN disk arrays, the iSCSI SAN disk arrays, or Network Attached Storage (NAS) arrays. For both on-premises and cloud SDDCs, vSAN datastores hide the idiosyncrasies of the underlying physical storage and present a uniform model for the storage resources required by virtual machines.


Folders allow you to group objects of the same type so you can easily manage them. For example, you can use folders to set permissions across objects, to set alarms across objects, and to organize objects in a meaningful way.

A folder can contain other folders, or a group of objects of the same type: data centers, clusters, datastores, networks, virtual machines, templates, or hosts. For example, one folder can contain hosts and a folder containing hosts, but it cannot contain hosts and a folder containing virtual machines.

In VMware Cloud on AWS, you can create subfolders of the Workloads folder in the VMs and Templates view to organize your VMs. You cannot create other folders.


The physical computer on which ESXi is installed. All virtual machines run on hosts or clusters.


A set of virtual network interface cards (virtual NICs), distributed switches or vSphere Distributed Switches, and port groups or distributed port groups that connect virtual machines to each other or to the physical network outside of the virtual data center. All virtual machines that connect to the same port group belong to the same network in the virtual environment. You can monitor networks and set permissions and alarms on port groups and distributed port groups.

Resource pools

Resource pools are used to compartmentalize the CPU and memory resources of a host or cluster. Virtual machines run in, and draw their resources from, resource pools. You can create multiple resource pools as direct children of a standalone host or cluster and then delegate control over each resource pool to other individuals or organizations.

vCenter Server DRS provides various options for monitoring the status of the resources and adjusting or suggesting adjustments to the virtual machines using the resources. You can monitor resources and set alarms on them.


A template is a master copy of a virtual machine that can be used to create and provision new virtual machines. Templates can have a guest operating system and application software installed. They can be customized during deployment to ensure that the new virtual machine has a unique name and network settings.

Virtual machines

A virtualized computer environment in which a guest operating system and associated application software can run. Multiple virtual machines can operate on the same managed host machine concurrently.


vSphere vApp is a format for packaging and managing applications. A vApp can contain multiple virtual machines.