Absolute Guide to Setting Up New Datastores in VMware ESXi

In a VMware virtualization environment, datastores serve as storage repositories for virtual machines (VMs) and their associated files. Setting up new datastores is a critical step when expanding your virtual infrastructure or adding storage capacity to existing ESXi hosts.

In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of setting up new datastores in VMware ESXi. Understanding and configuring datastores properly is essential for efficiently managing and storing VMs and their data.

What are Datastores, and why are they important?

Datastores are storage containers that provide a centralized location for storing VM files, including virtual disks, VM configuration files, and snapshots. They are typically located on storage devices such as SAN (Storage Area Network), NAS (Network-Attached Storage), or local storage arrays. Datastores are crucial for several reasons:

  1. VM Storage: Datastores hold the virtual disks and files necessary for VMs to operate, making them a fundamental component of the virtual infrastructure.
  2. VMotion and High Availability: Datastores enable VMotion and High Availability features, allowing VMs to migrate between ESXi hosts and ensuring VM uptime and reliability.
  3. Resource Management: Datastores help manage storage resources, allowing you to allocate storage space based on VM requirements.
  4. Snapshot Management: Datastores store VM snapshots, providing a point-in-time copy of the VM for backup and recovery purposes.

Step 1: Verify Storage Connectivity and Compatibility

Before setting up new datastores, ensure that the storage device is correctly connected to the ESXi host and compatible with VMware ESXi. Follow these steps:

  1. Verify that the storage device (SAN, NAS, or local storage) is correctly connected to the ESXi host via Fibre Channel, iSCSI, NFS, or other supported protocols.
  2. Check the VMware Hardware Compatibility Guide to ensure that the storage device and its firmware are compatible with the version of VMware ESXi you are using.

Step 2: Rescan Storage Adapters

After connecting the storage device, rescan the storage adapters on the ESXi host to detect the new storage devices:

  1. Log in to the vSphere Client or vCenter Server.
  2. Select the ESXi host you want to configure.
  3. Click on the “Configure” tab and select “Storage Adapters.”
  4. Right-click on each storage adapter (e.g., Fibre Channel HBA or iSCSI adapter) and choose “Rescan Storage Adapters.”

Step 3: Create a New Datastore

Once the storage devices are detected, create a new datastore on the ESXi host:

  1. Select the ESXi host you want to create the datastore on.
  2. Click on the “Configure” tab and select “Storage.”
  3. Click on the “Add Datastore” button (a green plus sign) to start the “Add Storage” wizard.
  4. Choose the storage type (e.g., VMFS, NFS) and click “Next.”
  5. Select the storage device where you want to create the datastore and click “Next.”
  6. Enter a name for the new datastore and specify the datastore size. You can also configure VMFS options such as block size (if applicable).
  7. Click “Next” to review the settings and click “Finish” to create the new datastore.

Step 4: Format and Mount the Datastore

Once the datastore is created, you may need to format and mount it on the ESXi host:

  1. Select the newly created datastore in the “Storage” view.
  2. Click the “Mount Datastore” button (a green arrow pointing up).
  3. Choose the partitioning scheme (if applicable) and click “Next.”
  4. Review the details and click “Finish” to format and mount the datastore.

Step 5: Verify Datastore Availability

After formatting and mounting the datastore, verify its availability and connectivity:

  1. Navigate to the “Storage” view and ensure the new datastore is listed and has an “Active” status.
  2. Check that the datastore appears in the “Datastores” section of the ESXi host and is accessible.


Setting up new datastores in VMware ESXi is a fundamental task in expanding your virtual infrastructure and increasing storage capacity. Datastores provide a centralized location for storing VM files and play a crucial role in enabling VMotion, High Availability, and resource management. By following this comprehensive guide, you can successfully set up new datastores, ensuring efficient storage management for your VMware virtualized environment.

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