What is VMware Cloud Foundation?

VMware Cloud Foundation(VCF) is the hybrid cloud platform developed by VMware and it is built on the top of full-stack Hyper-Converged Infrastructure(HCI) technology. This has a uniform architecture that helps in easy deployment, simple management, and securely scale between public cloud and private cloud. This suits better for hybrid cloud infrastructure. VMware Cloud Foundation is based on SDDC(Software-defined data-centers) and SDDC helps us to manage the infrastructure programmatically. The latest release of this is VCF 4.

Benefits Of VMware Cloud Foundation

Ease Of Management – To manage an IT operation is a kind of challenging job for engineers. VCF 4 makes it easy for you by optimizing performance, resilience, and availability of resources powered by vSphere 7.

Simple Architecture – VCF 4 is based on Hyper-converged infrastructure(HCI) that automates provisioning, scaling, and management of the infrastructure. The HCI provides support of best-in-class compute, storage, networking, and management tools that you use in your data center to deliver operational simplicity and lower your operating cost.

Scalability – You can scale quickly as your operation grow easily on hybrid cloud environment.

Deployment – The deployment of VCF 4 is very simple. You can deploy it very quickly and enhance your performance.

VMware Cloud Foundation 4 integration with vSphere 7 with Kubernetes delivers simpler and cost-optimized operations. VCF 4 can be used in public and private cloud, VDI, and modern application development.

We will learn how to configure and use Cloud Foundation to deploy and manage your software-defined data center (SDDC).


VMware Cloud Foundation document is specifically for data center cloud administrators. Administrators should be aware with below technologies-

  • Concepts of VMware virtualization and software-defined data centers(SDDC)
  • Basic of Networking and concepts such as uplinks, NICs, VLAN, and IP networks
  • Hardware components such as top-of-rack (ToR) switches, inter-rack switches, servers with direct-attached storage, cables, and power supplies
  • Methods for setting up physical racks in your data center
  • Using the VMware vSphere Web Client to work with virtual machines
  • Basic troubleshooting skill of various issues related to ESXi, Storage, and VMs

Basic Components

  • VMware vSphere with Kubernetes
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware NSX-T Data Center
  • VMware vRealizeSuite
About VMware Cloud Foundation
VMware Cloud Foundation (Source: VMware)

Basic Terminology

Cloud Builder
The VMware Cloud Builder is an appliance that automates the deployment of the entire software-defined stack.

SDDC Manager
SDDC Manager automates the entire system lifecycle such as configuration and provisioning to upgrades and patching and simplifies day-to-day management and operations.

VMware vSphere
VMware vSphere uses virtualization to transform individual data centers into aggregated computing infrastructures that include CPU, storage, and networking resources. vSphere provides us an interface to access the virtualization environment.

VMware vSAN
VMware vSAN aggregates local or direct-attached data storage devices to create a single storage pool shared across all hosts in the vSAN cluster. vSAN eliminates the need for external shared storage, and simplifies storage configuration and virtual machine provisioning.

NSX-T Datacenters
VMware NSX-T provides advanced and secure network services to the server.

vRealize Suits
Cloud Foundation supports automated deployment of vRealize Suite Lifecycle Manager.

VMware Cloud Features

  • Automated Software Bring-Up – Start your Cloud Foundation by installing a baseline ESXi image on vSAN ReadyNodes. Configure physical networking settings. It will require at least four hosts to start to automate the bring-up and configuration of the software stack. During bring-up, the management domain is created on the four hosts you specified. When the bring-up process completes, you have a functional management domain and can start provisioning the workload domains.
  • Simplified Resource Provisioning – In the Cloud Foundation, workload domains are a policy-based resource construct with specific availability and performance attributes. It aggregates computes (vSphere), storage (vSAN), networking (NSX-T Data Center), and cloud management (vRealize Suite) into a single consumable entity.
  • Application Focused Management – With Kubernetes Workload Management you can deploy and manage Compute, Network, and Storage in the Kubernetes clusters and host the application with the consistency of resources. It is more application-centric rather than virtual machines.
  • Automated Lifecycle Management – Cloud Foundation offers automated lifecycle management on a per-workload basis. It can schedule, test the interoperability of software patches and updates in an automated fashion across the workload domains.
  • Multi-Instance Management – Multiple Cloud Foundation instances can be handled together by grouping them into a federation, such that each member can view information about the entire federation and the individual instances within it.

Cloud Foundation Architecture

It supports two architecture models – standard and consolidated.

  • Standard – In the standard model, management workloads run on a dedicated management domain. The user virtual infrastructure workload runs on a separate vCenter server.
VMware Cloud Deployment Standard Model(Source:VMware)
  • Consolidated – This is good for smaller use cases in which we put both management workload and user’s virtual infrastructure together. They are in shared deployment and management and managed by a single vCenter Server.
VMware Cloud Deployment Consolidated Model(Source:VMware)

Cloud Foundation Basic Terminology

Availability ZoneCollection of infrastructure components. Every AZ is isolated from each other.
Application Virtual Network(AVN)Virtual networks based on NSX-T protocol.
Bring-upInitial configuration and setup of server hardware, and racking.
Cluster ImageAnalogous software, patches, and versions across the cluster
Commission HostAdding a host to Cloud Foundation inventory. The host remains in the free pool until it is assigned to a workload domain.
Dirty HostA host that has been removed from a cluster in a workload domain. A dirty host cannot be assigned to another workload domain until it is cleaned up.
Decommission HostRemove an unassigned host from the Cloud Foundation inventory. SDDC Manager does not manage decommissioned hosts.
Edge ClusterA logical grouping of Edge nodes.
Lifecycle ManagerAutomates patching and upgrading of the software stack.
Management DomainThe cluster of physical hosts that contains the management component VMs
Network PoolAutomatically assign IP addresses to vSAN and vMotion vmkernel ports.
RegionA Cloud Foundation instance is called the region.
SDDC ManagerA software component that provisions, manages, and monitors the logical and physical resources of a cloud foundation system.
SDDC Manager VMThe virtual machine that contains the SDDC Manager services and a shell from which command-line tools can be run.
vSphere Lifecycle ManagerA vCenter service, which is now integrated with Cloud Foundation, that enables centralized and simplified lifecycle management of ESXi hosts.
Workload DomainA policy-based resource container with specific availability and performance attributes. It combines vSphere, storage, and networking into a single consumable entity. A workload domain can be created, expanded, and deleted as part of the SDDC lifecycle operations.
Basic Of VMware Cloud Foundation

This is very basic introduction of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0. For more detailed information you may visit to official website of VMware.


Leave a Comment