This introduction describes storage options available in vSphere and explains how to configure your host so that it can use and manage different types of storage. Storage VirtualizationESXi provides host-level storage virtualization, which logically abstracts the physical storage layer from virtual machines. Types of Physical StorageThe ESXi storage management process starts with storage space that your storage administrator preallocates on different storage systems. Target and Device RepresentationsIn the ESXi context, the term target identifies a single storage unit that the host can access. The terms device and LUN describe a logical volume that represents storage space on a target. Typically, the terms device and LUN, in the ESXi context, mean a storage volume presented to the host from a storage target and available for formatting. Storage Device CharacteristicsYou can display all storage devices or LUNs available to the host, including all local and networked devices. If you use third-party multipathing plug-ins, the storage devices available through the plug-ins also appear on the list. Supported Storage AdaptersStorage adapters provide connectivity for your ESXi host to a specific storage unit or network. Datastore CharacteristicsDatastores are logical containers, analogous to file systems, that hide specifics of each storage device and provide a uniform model for storing virtual machine files. You can display all datastores available to your hosts and analyze their properties. How Virtual Machines Access StorageWhen a virtual machine communicates with its virtual disk stored on a datastore, it issues SCSI commands. Because datastores can exist on various types of physical storage, these commands are encapsulated into other forms, depending on the protocol that the ESXi host uses to connect to a storage device. Comparing Types of StorageWhether certain vSphere functionality is supported might depend on the storage technology that you use.