This section describes how the SDDC software components work within an Cloud Foundation system. A virtual rack is a set of physical racks combined into and managed as a single logical entity. A workload domain is a resource group with specific availability and performance attributes.


ESXi is a Type I hypervisor that customers use to implement virtualization on bare metal systems to create their own datacenters. Along with certain add-on management products, many customers use ESXi to create private cloud solutions.

Cloud Foundation uses ESXi as a foundation for creating its SDDC architecture by using the hypervisor to run VMs in workload domains as well as the management domain. vCenter Server manages the workload domains using HA and uses internal storage aggregated into a datastore using vSAN.

vCenter Server

vCenter Server provides a single point of management of a VMware virtualized environment with one or more ESXi instances.

Cloud Foundation deploys the vCenter Server Appliance, a preconfigured Linux-based virtual machine optimized for running vCenter Server. The services bundled with the Platform Services Controller and vCenter Server are deployed on different virtual machines. As a result, by default, the management domain consists of a vCenter Server, and two external Platform Services Controllers.

Each vCenter division is configured as follows:

  • A vSphere cluster with DRS and HA is enabled.

  • Hosts supplying resources to the workload domain are added to the vSphere cluster.

  • The capacity tier is aggregated into a vSAN-backed datastore, with the cache tier disk drives in vSAN configured separately to provide additional performance.


vSAN pools together server-attached flash devices and/or hard disks to provide a highly resilient shared datastore suitable for a variety of workloads including business-critical applications, virtual desktops, remote IT, DR, and DevOps infrastructure.

In Cloud Foundation, each workload domain contains one or more vSphere clusters. The SDDC Manager creates a single vSAN volume spanning all the hosts within each vSphere cluster. It is recommended that you use a minimum of four hosts per workload domain for vSAN.

In an all flash vSAN environment, you must mark flash devices to be used for capacity layer as capacity disks.


NSX is the network virtualization platform for the SDDC, delivering the operational model of a virtual machine for entire networks. With NSX, network functions including switching, routing, and firewalling are embedded in the hypervisor and distributed across the environment.

One NSX Manager maps to a single vCenter Server environment. Therefore, each workload domain includes one NSX Manager instance and one NSX Controller instance.

Beyond this, data center administrators can use the vSphere Web Client to perform additional NSX configuration required by the specific VMs deployed within the workload domain.

vRealize Operations

vRealize Operations delivers intelligent operations management across physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure. It correlates data from applications to storage in a unified, easy-to-use management tool that provides control over performance, capacity, and configuration, with predictive analytics driving proactive action, and policy-based automation.

Cloud Foundation configures vRealize Operations so that administrators can monitor operations of both the physical and virtual components through a single interface.

vRealize Log Insight

vRealize Log Insight delivers heterogeneous and highly scalable log management with intuitive, actionable dashboards, sophisticated analytics and broad third-party extensibility, providing deep operational visibility and faster troubleshooting.

Cloud Foundation configures vRealize Log Insight so that administrators can monitor logs for both the physical and virtual components through a single interface.