Datastores are logical containers, analogous to file systems, that hide specifics of each storage device and provide a uniform model for storing virtual machine files. Datastores can also be used for storing ISO images, virtual machine templates, and floppy images.

You use the vSphere Client to access different types of storage devices that your ESXi host discovers and to deploy datastores on them.

Depending on the type of storage you use, datastores can be backed by the following file system formats:

  • Virtual Machine File System (VMFS)
  • Network File System (NFS)

After creating datastores, you can organize them in different ways. For example, you can group them into folders according to business practices. This allows you to assign the same permissions and alarms on the datastores in the group at one time.

You can also add datastores to datastore clusters. A datastore cluster is a collection of datastores with shared resources and a shared management interface. When you create a datastore cluster, you can use Storage DRS to manage storage resources. For information about datastore clusters, see the vSphere Resource Management documentation.