Managing Your vCenter Inventory

Lost or out-of-inventory VMs, virtual services and unlinked or orphaned files can use up the storage available on your datastores. Lost and out-of-inventory VMs and virtual services are those that are still on disk but are not registered in the managed system. This situation can occur when a VM or virtual service is removed from inventory and the files are not deleted from disk, or are cloned or deployed without proper controls. Unlinked or orphaned files can remain after VMs or other objects are deleted from disk.

You can generate a report to help you determine which files are not linked to a VM. For more information, see Unlinked Files Report.

Viewing in-inventory and out-of-inventory VMs

You can view a summary of what is contained in your vCenter datastores for both in-inventory and out-of-inventory VMs.

  • In-inventory VMs are virtual machines that exist on a datastore and are displayed in the managed system's inventory.
  • Out-of-inventory VMs are virtual machines that exist on a datastore but are not displayed in your inventory.

The inventory concept is vCenter-specific, so viewing out-of-inventory VMs and removing VMs from inventory are supported for vCenter only.

There are three ways to view in-inventory and out-of-inventory VMs:

Viewing your inventory through the tree

Access through:

Views > Inventory > Storage

Available to:

All Access Rights Levels

To view the VMs that are in inventory and out of inventory, go to the Storage View and expand the Managed folder or the Unmanaged folder in the tree.

Viewing your inventory through the Virtual Machines tab

Use the search function in Commander to display in-inventory and out-of-inventory VMs. The following figure shows the search function using Advanced Filters. This search will find VMs that are in inventory. If you change the value after the is operator to No, the search will find VMs that are out of inventory

Virtual Machines tab in the Storage view displays both in-inventory and out-of-inventory VMs. The Virtual Machines tab in the Infrastructure view or the Applications view and Applications views displays in-inventory VMs only.

Search-Inventory

Access through:

Views > Inventory > Infrastructure > Virtual Machines tab

Views > Inventory > Applications > Virtual Machines tab

Views > Inventory > Storage > Virtual Machines tab

Available to:

All Access Rights Levels

Removing VM or virtual services from inventory

You can use Commander to remove a VM or virtual service from inventory. When you complete this task, the files for the VM or virtual service remain on the disk and the service is considered to be "out of inventory". Removing from inventory is different from deleting from disk; a VM or virtual service that's out of inventory can be placed in inventory at another time, while a VM or virtual service deleted from disk is permanently removed, along with all its associated files.

Removing from inventory is supported only for vCenter.

Access through:

Views > Inventory > Infrastructure, Applications or Storage

Available to:

Administrator and All Operator Levels of Access Rights

To remove a VM or virtual service and its files from inventory, select the VM or virtual service you want to remove, and do the following:

  • For a VM, right-click and choose Configuration Management > Remove from Inventory.
  • For a virtual service, right-click and choose Remove from Inventory and confirm the removal.

The VM or virtual service must be powered off.

Determining when VM were removed from inventory

Every time a VM is removed from inventory, the date and time at which this event occurs is recorded. To see this information, make sure that the Last in Inventory column is displayed on the Virtual Machines tab in the Storage view (use the Pick Columns command).

Access through:

Views > Inventory > Storage > Virtual Machines tab

Available to:

All Access Rights Levels

Managing other files on disk

On datastores, many files can accumulate as VMs and other objects are added. Most of these files are valid, but occasionally, orphaned or unlinked files remain as VMs are deleted from inventory. See also the Unlinked Files Report.

Access through:

Views > Inventory > Storage

Available to:

Administrator and All Operator Levels of Access Rights

To view the files on disk:

  1. Click the Summary tab.
  2. Select a datastore.
  3. In the General section for the datastore, click the number for Other Files as displayed in the following figure.

    View Other Files

  4. If more than one page of files exists, browse through the table of files by moving from one page to the next.

    You can export these files to a CSV format by clicking Export.

  5. To delete orphaned or unlinked files, select one or a group of files to delete.
  6. Click Delete.
  7. Click OK to confirm deletion of the files.

    Commander deletes the files you selected from the disk.