A few versions back VMWare introduced Content Libraries as a way to store and organize data within your VMWare environment. Content Libraries allows admins to store common data (ISO Images, OVF Templates and Templates) in a central repository. Gone are the unorganized datastore folders and searching through each one to find the correct version of that ISO you are looking for. Just one master location!
vSphere 6.5 introduces the ability to subscribe to remote Content Libraries. This allows external vCenter server to automatically download the contents of a remote Content Library over HTTP(s) to a local data store. Administrators at the remote site can then use the data within the library to deploy new virtual machines. Data can be setup to be automatically synchronized between the Main and Remote Libraries. When synchronizing automatically, keep a close eye on your storage utilization.
I have personally seen Content Libraries used in a Horizon VDI Environment in a DR scenario. Engineers created a Library to house all user writable files that automatically synchronized between production and DR.
Enough with talking about Content Libraries, Lets create one in the Lab. I will be using vCenter 6.7 U2 and the HTML client.
Creating a Content Library
To Start, navigate to the Menu and click on Content Libraries.
From there, Click the Plus.
This is the point where you Name the library and give it a Description. I am going to create a Library called Images and this is where I will store all my Disk Images and VM Templates.
The Next Step is deciding what type of Library you are going to create. Locally Published is used when you want to create a library. Subscribed is when you already have a Library defined and would like to access it from a new vCenter server. Since this is the first library, we will be choosing Locally Published. At this same step we have the option to publish and password protect this repository. Select these options if you wish.
The next step is to define which Datastore the Content Library is stored. I am choosing my Synology NAS that is connected by ISCSI.
Once the Datastore is defined. You can click Finish and you will have a fully functional Content Library.
Adding Files to a Content Library
To add files to the Content Library there are 2 main options. You can upload files from your local machine or you can leverage a web link. This will download the file from the internet using the Content Library as the destination. Just remember vCenter needs to have a working internet connection for this to happen.
Start by clicking Actions and selecting Import Item.
From there you can select either a URL or Local File. I am using a Local File for this example.
Clicking Import will upload the file to the Library. A status of the upload can be viewed through the Recent Tasks pane.
Content Libraries can be extremely useful for large environments especially when you want to standardize and organize your ISO Images and VM Templates. It is important to understand your environments before deploying something like a Content Library. You never want to over complicate something.