VMware Virtual Machine files

As per one of the definition of virtual machines, a virtual machine is basically set of files which includes specification files and configuration files. In this post, we will talk about the virtual machine files that makes up a VM.

Below listed are the files that makes up a virtual machine in VMware vSphere. It is not necessary that you will see all the files listed below when you create a VM. This is because, some files will come in picture only when you perform certain operations on a VM. For example, If you take a snapshot of VM, then you will see snapshot related files in VM folder.

There are few other files also get created such as .ctk (Backup Tracking file for backup jobs) or .lck (NFS lock file if VM is placed on NFS datastore) if related operations are performed.

As per recent update, there is new addition of .vmem file for holding memory state (content of RAM) while doing snapshot operation on a running VM. This is optional though, as you need to select whether you want to include RAM content or not.

Another file to look at would be rdm.vmdk in virtual mode RDM mode and rdmp.vmdk in physical mode RDM.

Source: VMware

File
Usage
Description
.vmx
vmname.vmx
Virtual machine configuration file
.vmxf
vmname.vmxf
Additional virtual machine configuration files
.vmdk
vmname.vmdk
Virtual disk characteristics
-flat.vmdk
vmname-flat.vmdk
Preallocated virtual disk
.nvram
vmname.nvram or nvram
Virtual machine BIOS or EFI configuration
.vmsd
vmname.vmsd
Virtual machine snapshots
.vmsn
vmname.vmsn
Virtual machine snapshot data file
.vswp
vmname.vswp
Virtual machine swap file
.vmss
vmname.vmss
Virtual machine suspend file
.log
vmware.log
Current virtual machine log file
-#.log
vmware-#.log (where # is a number starting with 1)
Old virtual machine log entries

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