Datastores are logical containers, analogous to file systems, that hide specifics of physical storage 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.

Depending on the storage you use, datastores can be of the following types:

VMFS datastores that are backed by the Virtual Machine File System format. See Understanding VMFS Datastores.

NFS datastores that are backed by the Network File System NFS format. See Understanding Network File System Datastores.

Virtual SAN datastores. See the Administering VMware Virtual SAN documentation.

Virtual Volumes datastores. See Working with Virtual Volumes.

After creating datastores, you can perform several administrative operations on the datastores. Certain operations, such as renaming a datastore, are available for all types of datastores. While others apply to specific types of datastores.

You can also organize datastores 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.