To store virtual disks, ESXi uses datastores. The datastores are logical containers that hide specifics of physical storage from virtual machines and provide a uniform model for storing the virtual machine files. The datastores that you deploy on block storage devices use the native vSphere Virtual Machine File System (VMFS) format. It is a special high-performance file system format that is optimized for storing virtual machines.

Use the vSphere Client to set up the VMFS datastore in advance on the block-based storage device that your ESXi host discovers. The VMFS datastore can be extended to span over several physical storage devices that include SAN LUNs and local storage. This feature allows you to pool storage and gives you flexibility in creating the datastore necessary for your virtual machines.

You can increase the capacity of the datastore while the virtual machines are running on the datastore. This ability lets you add new space to your VMFS datastores as your virtual machine requires it. VMFS is designed for concurrent access from multiple physical machines and enforces the appropriate access controls on the virtual machine files.