So : On to vmware, where you want to set up an OS
most people will look for the DVD's and mount them up via the console but instead you can upload the images for future use.
If you have DVDs you can use MagicISO or any such tool to make an ISO of the DVD, an ISO being an image of the DVD. Once you have all the ISOs made, you can now carry on and upload them to a VMWARE store for easy use.
In Virtual Center , click on Inventory/Datastores.
Right-Click on your datastore, then click Browse Datastore [ select the datastore with some space, you'll be hiding ISOs in here ]
On the icons at the top, there's a little green up arrow, click it, then Upload File or Folder.
Select the file or folder you want to put up, then click OK. It will take a few minutes for your files to be uploaded but once they are there you are done.
Now when installing a new VM [ not from a clone ] you can click oh the VM settings, then CD/DVD drive. now you can click Select Datastore ISO file and browse to the needed ISO file.
Once there you can connect the DVD drive to any DVD you like; this is also much fast ter when installing a new OS since it does not have to travel all the way across a possibly slow network
when getting a new test system provisioned to allow new application servers or new database servers in is your goal then this will help - any time spared is useful, and you can reuse the software images again and again