What is a VMware Content Library?

Content library in a VMware is a container object which stores VM templates, vApp templates, and other types of files. It has the capability of sharing the stored files across multiple vCenter Server instances in the same or different locations.

This post is a three-part series.

  • In this first post, we’ll discuss what is VMware Content Libraries and its types.
  • In the second part, we’ll take a look at how to configure the content libraries in vCenter 6.7 Update 2.
  • In the last part, we’ll look at the steps to create a subscribed content library

Content Library function is available from vSphere 6.0 version onwards and now with latest vSphere 6.7 update 2 it is matured and very useful for vSphere Administrators.

Using Content Libraries you can bring out compliance and consistency within the infrastructure when deploying workloads.

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You can create Library from Single vCenter and the library items can be shared between vCenter servers. The files can be single or multiple files such as ISO, OVF, etc.

There are two types of libraries you can create:

  • Local Libraries
  • Subscribed Libraries

Local Libraries

Local Libraries are used to store items on a single vCenter Server instance, and it can be published to allow users from different vCenter Servers to subscribe.

Subscribed Libraries

Purpose of Subscribed Libraries is to subscribe to a published library to create a subscribed library. A subscribed library can be created in the same vCenter of the published library or in a different vCenter Server instance.

You can configure the synchronization of the subscribed library in automated or manual to the source published library. Also, you can set the option to download content from the source published library immediately or only when needed to manage your storage space

Content Library Syncing

There are two options which you can set syncing of the content libraries.

  • Download all the contents of the published library immediately
  • Download contents only when needed

Download all the contents of the published library immediately option will synchronize both the item metadata and the item contents. While synchronization happens, the library items that are new for the subscribed library are fully downloaded to the storage location of the subscribed library.

Download contents only when needed synchronizes will only sync the metadata for the library items from the published library and does not download the contents of the items. This option will save storage space and based on your requirement you can synchronize the items. After you are done using the item, you can delete the item contents to free space on the storage.

Note: – With subscribed library option, you can only utilize the content, but cannot contribute with content. Only the administrator of the published library can manage the templates and files.

What’s new with Content Library in vCenter 6.7?

  • In vSphere 6.7 Update 1, VMware introduced the storing Virtual Machine Template (VMTX) files in Content Library. This enables deploying a virtual machine from native VM templates alongside OVF/OVA templates within the Content Library.
  • With vCenter Server 6.7 Update 2, introduced new functionally, Syncing of native VM templates between Content Libraries with vCenter Server Enhanced Linked Mode. And Published libraries can now become subscriber aware allowing newly published items to replicate to other subscribed Content Libraries.
  • A Publish option is available when viewing the VMTX template or from the Subscriptions tab of the local library. Publishing from the local library will sync the VM template to the selected Subscriber Libraries.
  • With vCenter 6.7 Update 2, you can now publish your VM templates managed by Content Library from a published library to multiple subscribers. You can trigger this action from the published library, which gives you greater control over the distribution of VM templates. The published and subscribed libraries must be in the same linked vCenter Server system, regardless if on-prem, on cloud or hybrid.


Content library is one of the great features of VMware vCenter which really helps VMware and System Admins to share the contents between vCenters.

Content library provides a central repository where you can upload ISOs, VM and vApp templates, scripts and other file types and it helps to efficiently share the files between all of you vCenter environments and allow sharing them via the publish option.

In this article, we’ve discussed the VMware Content library feature and we will look at the step by step procedure to create and configure the Content Library in the next article.

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VMware Content Libraries: Part 1 – An Overview
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