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Several occasions exist where you have to upload a file to a VMware vSphere datastore. It can be a new or updated hardware driver you need to access temporarily during the patching process. It can be an ISO image you want to upload to install a new virtual machine (VM). Or it can also be a VMX configuration file or virtual machine disk files (VMDKs) for easy access.
The VMware datastore is the place where you can store those files. We have to differentiate here between local datastores of an individual host and a shared datastore on a SAN or NAS device attached via a storage network.
A few years back VMware admins only had a single way of doing this simple task. Now VMware offers more choices because VMware is putting new tools in place to reduce the dependency on Windows. VMware is also working on a new HTML5-based web client, which does not use Adobe Flash.
vSphere Web Client (Flash)
This is the most common option. Admins most often use this tool in an enterprise environment. Currently this is the only tool that supports configuring every VMware vSphere feature.
After you connect to your infrastructure, select the storage unit, and then click the yellow folder icon Navigate to the datastore file browser.
You can create a folder after you click the Upload a file to the Datastore icon or the folder icon.
Let's to do the same with the new vSphere HTML5 client.
vSphere Web Client (HTML5)
This vSphere web client is currently a work in progress. Not all functions are implemented, but uploading to the datastore works. This web client does not use the Adobe Flash plugin, which is sometimes buggy.
After you connect to your VMware vSphere infrastructure (via https://ip_of_vCenter/ui/), you have to expand the Storage icon, select the datastore where you want to upload, and then click Upload Files. Note that you also have the possibility to upload to a folder.
The latter is useful for uploading VMs because VM folders contain multiple files, such as the VMX configuration files and VMDKs.
Windows-based ESXi host client
You can use the vSphere client (the old Windows client), which still works for individual hosts. Select the storage unit, and then click Browse Datastore.
In the new window that opens, you have to click the Upload files to this datastore icon.
HTML5-based ESXi host client
This web client comes preinstalled when you install the ESXi host. Simply go to https://ip_of_ESXi/UI in your web browser, select Storage, and click the Datastore browser icon.
Now click the Upload button within the browser.
Oher ways to upload files to a datastore
I have listed four ways to upload or download files to and from a datastores using VMware's GUI tools. File management within the VMware infrastructure is getting manifold, as VMware is shifting away from Windows-based management to web clients.
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Several other ways exist to upload files to a datastore. For instance, you can use the free WinSCP tool or the free edition of Veeam Backup & Replication, which has one of the fastest transfer speeds. This is especially useful when you want to upload large ISO files to your datastore. And of course, you can also upload files via PowerCLI if you have to automate an administration task.