The vCenter Server communicates with the vendor provider to obtain information that the vendor provider collects from available storage devices. The vCenter Server can then display the storage data in the vSphere Client.

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

Storage topology. Information about physical storage elements appears on the Storage Views tab. It includes such data as storage arrays, array IDs, and so on.

This type of information can be helpful when you need to track virtual machine-to-storage relationships and configuration, or to identify any changes in physical storage configuration.

For more information, see the vSphere Monitoring and Performance documentation.

Storage capabilities. The vendor provider collects and communicates information about physical capabilities and services that underlying storage offers.

This information can be useful when, for example, you need to properly aggregate storage into tiers, or select the right storage, in terms of space and performance, for a particular virtual machine.

The capabilities appear on the list of system-defined storage capabilities. For details, see Understanding Storage Capabilities.

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.