An ESX system uses datastores to store all files associated with its virtual machines. After you create datastores, you can manage them by performing a number of tasks.

A datastore is a logical storage unit that can use disk space on one physical device, one disk partition, or span several physical devices. The datastore can exist on different types of physical devices, including SCSI, iSCSI, Fibre Channel SAN, or NFS.

Datastores are added to the vSphere Client in one of the following ways:

Discovered when a host is added to the inventory. The vSphere Client displays any datastores that the host can recognize.

Created on an available storage device using the Add Storage command.

After the datastores are created, you can use them to store virtual machine files. You can manage them by renaming, removing, and setting access control permissions. In addition, you can group datastores to organize them and set the same permissions across the group at one time.

For information on setting access control permissions on a datastore, see the vSphere Client Help.