A storage provider is a software component that is offered by VMware or developed by a third party through vSphere APIs for Storage Awareness (VASA). The storage provider can also be called VASA provider. The storage providers integrate with various storage entities that include external physical storage and storage abstractions, such as vSAN and Virtual Volumes. Storage providers can also support software solutions, for example, I/O filters.

Storage Provider Concepts

Generally, vCenter Server and ESXi use the storage providers to obtain information about storage configuration, status, and storage data services offered in your environment. This information appears in the vSphere Client. The information helps you to make appropriate decisions about virtual machine placement, to set storage requirements, and to monitor your storage environment.
Persistence Storage Providers
Storage providers that manage arrays and storage abstractions, are called persistence storage providers. Providers that support Virtual Volumes or vSAN belong to this category. In addition to storage, persistence providers can provide other data services, such as replication.
Data Service Providers
Another category of providers is I/O filter storage providers, or data service providers. These providers offer data services that include host-based caching, compression, and encryption.
Both persistence storage and data service providers can belong to one of these categories.
Built-in Storage Providers
Built-in storage providers are offered by VMware. Typically, they do not require registration. For example, the storage providers that support vSAN or I/O filters are build-in and become registered automatically.
Third-Party Storage Providers
When a third party offers a storage provider, you typically must register the provider. An example of such a provider is the Virtual Volumes provider. You use the vSphere Client to register and manage each storage provider component.
For more information, Manage Storage Providers for vSphere Virtual Volumes.

The following graphic illustrates how different types of storage providers facilitate communications between vCenter Server and ESXi and other components of your storage environment. For example, the components might include storage arrays, Virtual Volumes storage, and I/O filters.

Different types of storage providers facilitate communications between vCenter Server and ESXi and other components of storage environment.

Storage Providers and Data Representation

Information that the storage provider supplies can be divided into the following categories:

  • Storage data services and capabilities. This type of information is essential for such functionalities as vSAN, Virtual Volumes, and I/O filters. The storage provider that represents these functionalities integrates with the Storage Policy Based Management (SPBM) mechanism. The storage provider collects information about data services that are offered by underlying storage entities or available I/O filters.

    You reference these data services when you define storage requirements for virtual machines and virtual disks in a storage policy. Depending on your environment, the SPBM mechanism ensures appropriate storage placement for a virtual machine or enables specific data services for virtual disks. For details, see Creating and Managing vSphere VM Storage Policies.

  • Storage status. This category includes reporting about status of various storage entities. It also includes alarms and events for notifying about configuration changes.

    This type of information can help you troubleshoot storage connectivity and performance problems. It can also help you to correlate array-generated events and alarms to corresponding performance and load changes on the array.

  • Storage DRS information for the distributed resource scheduling on block devices or file systems. This information helps to ensure that decisions made by Storage DRS are compatible with resource management decisions internal to the storage systems.

Storage Provider Requirements and Considerations

When you use third-party storage provider, vendors are responsible for supplying storage providers. The VMware VASA program defines an architecture that integrates third-party storage providers into the vSphere environment, so that vCenter Server and ESXi hosts can communicate with the storage providers.

To use storage providers, follow these requirements:

  • Make sure that every storage provider you use is certified by VMware and properly deployed. For information about deploying the storage providers, contact your storage vendor.
  • Make sure that the storage provider is compatible with the vCenter Server and ESXi versions. See VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • Do not install the VASA provider on the same system as vCenter Server.
  • If your environment contains older versions of storage providers, existing functionality continues to work. However, to use new features, upgrade your storage provider to a new version.

Managing Storage Providers

You might need to register certain types of storage providers to establish their connection to vCenter Server. You can then review and manage the storage providers.

Register Storage Providers

Use the vSphere Client to register a separate storage provider for each host in a cluster.

After registration, vCenter Server can detect and use the functionality of the latest VASA version.
Note: Built-in storage providers do not require registration. For example, the storage providers that support vSAN or I/O filters are build-in. They become registered and appear on the list of storage providers automatically. For more information, see the Administering VMware vSAN documentation and Filtering Virtual Machine I/O in vSphere.


Verify that the storage provider component is installed on the storage side and obtain its credentials from your storage administrator.


  1. Navigate to vCenter Server.
  2. Click the Configure tab, and click Storage Providers.
  3. Click the Add icon.
  4. Enter connection information for the storage provider, including the name, URL, and credentials.
  5. Click OK.


vCenter Server registers the storage provider and establishes a secure connection with it.

What to do next

To troubleshoot registration of your storage provider, see the VMware Knowledge Base article https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/49798.

View Storage Provider Information

After you register a storage provider component with vCenter Server, the storage provider appears on the storage providers list. Certain storage providers are self-registered and automatically appear on the list after you set up the entity they represent, for example, vSAN or I/O filters.

Use the vSphere Client to view general storage provider information and details for each storage component.


  1. Navigate to vCenter Server.
  2. Click the Configure tab, and click Storage Providers.
  3. In the Storage Providers list, view the storage providers registered with vCenter Server.
    The list shows general information including the name of the storage provider, its URL and status, and version of VASA APIs.
  4. To display additional details, click the icon next to the provider's name.
    Note: A single storage provider can support storage systems from multiple different vendors.
    You can display information about provider's certificates and storage entities it represents.

Re-authenticate Host VASA Client

Starting from vSphere 8.0 Update 3, you can monitor the storage provider connection and authentication status on each ESXi host. If there is an authentication issue in a specific host, you can re-authenticate the specific host against the storage provider.

Use the vSphere Client to monitor the storage providers.


Register storage providers. See Register Storage Providers for Virtual Volumes.


  1. Navigate to the ESXi host in vCenter Server.
  2. Click the Configure tab, and click Storage Providers.
    The Storage Providers tab lists the storage provider registered with the ESXi host. You can view general information including the name of the storage provider, status, and version of the VASA API. The Client Certificate lists the VASA client certificate details.
  3. If the status indicates an authentication error for a provider, click the row action (three dots) icon next to the provider's name and click Re-authenticate Host VASA Clients.
    Screenshot of the ESXi host Storage Provider user interface
    The VASA client re-authorizes the ESXi host with the storage provider.

Manage Storage Providers

Use the vSphere Client to perform several management operations on the registered storage providers.


  1. Navigate to vCenter Server.
  2. Click the Configure tab, and click Storage Providers.
  3. Click the icon to perform one of the following global actions for all providers.
    Icon Description
    Synchronize Storage Providers Synchronize all storage providers with the current state of the environment.
    Re-authenticate Host VASA Clients Re-authenticate all hosts with Virtual Volumes datastores against their respective storage providers. This icon is available only for Virtual Volumes providers.
    Note: This operation is time consuming.
  4. To manage a specific storage provider, navigate to the provider and click the Row action (three dots) icon next to the provider's name.
    The graphic shows menu options for the Row action icon.
  5. Select one of the following from the Row actions menu.
    Availability of the menu options depends on the type of the storage provider you use. For example, you cannot manually unregister or upgrade certain storage providers supplied by VMware, such as vSAN or I/O filter storage providers.
    Option Description
    Rescan Update storage data for the provider.

    vCenter Server periodically updates storage data in its database. The updates are partial and reflect only those changes that storage providers communicate to vCenter Server at that moment. When needed, you can perform a full database synchronization for the selected storage provider.

    Remove Unregister storage providers that you do not use. After this operation, vCenter Server closes the connection and removes the storage provider from its configuration.
    Refresh certificate vCenter Server warns you when a certificate assigned to a storage provider is about to expire. You can refresh the certificate to continue using the provider.

    If you fail to refresh the certificate before it expires, vCenter Server discontinues using the provider.

    Upgrade Storage Provider When vCenter Server notifies you about a new available VASA version, accept this version to enable it in your vSphere environment. vCenter Server activates new capabilities exposed by the storage provider and communicates this information to all hosts in the inventory.

    When you perform this action, you must enter credentials of the storage provider.

    You cannot select specific VASA version for an upgrade if several versions are available. vCenter Server upgrades only to the latest version.
    Note: You have the flexibility to upgrade at your own pace. For more information, see vSphere Virtual Volumes Security.
    Re-authenticate vCenter Server Re-authenticate vCenter Server against the storage provider.

    This action re-authorizes vCenter Server with the storage provider if it has lost authentication and would need credentials.

    You must enter credentials of the storage provider.