In addition to the core features and capabilities provided by the individual components of the software stack, Cloud Foundation adds several unique capabilities.

Natively Integrated Software-Defined Stack

Cloud Foundation delivers a natively integrated software-defined data center stack starting with the core infrastructure virtualization, vSphere, Virtual SAN and NSX, in addition to the SDDC Manager for lifecycle management automation. Customers can flexibly upgrade individual components in the stack to higher editions and optionally deploy VMware vRealize Suite and VMware Horizon.

Automates Hardware and Software Bring-Up

Cloud Foundation automates the installation of the entire VMware software stack. Once the rack is installed and powered on and the networking is in place, SDDC Manager leverages its knowledge of the hardware bill of materials and user-provided environmental information (e.g. DNS, IP address pool, etc.) to initialize the rack. Time savings varies by customer, but software installation time is estimated to be reduced from several weeks to as little as two hours due to the automation of certain previously manual functions. These include provisioning workloads, including automated provisioning of networks, allocation of resources based on service needs, and provisioning of end points. When the process completes, the customer has a virtual infrastructure ready to start deploying vSphere clusters and provisioning workloads.

Simplifies Resource Provisioning by Creating Workload Domains

Cloud Foundation introduces a new abstraction, workload domains, for creating logical pools across compute, storage, and networking. A workload domain is a policy based resource container with specific availability and performance attributes that combines vSphere, vSAN and NSX into a single consumable entity. Each workload domain provides the needed capacity with specified policies for performance, availability, and security. For example, a cloud administrator can create one workload domain for test workloads that have balanced performance and low availability requirements, while creating a separate workload domain for production workloads requiring high availability and high performance.

SDDC Manager automatically implements a deployment workflow to translate the workload domain specifications into the underlying pool of resources. Workload domains relieve a cloud administrator from having to research and implement best practices needed to achieve operational goals.

A workload domain can be created, expanded, and deleted as part of the SDDC lifecycle operations.

Automates Lifecycle Management

Data center upgrades and patch management are typically manual, repetitive tasks that are prone to configuration and implementation errors. Validation testing of software and hardware firmware to ensure interoperability among components when one component is patched or upgraded requires extensive quality assurance testing in staging environments. Often strapped for time, IT must sometimes make the difficult decision to deploy new patches before they are fully vetted or defer new patches, which slows down the roll-out of new feature or security and bug fixes. Both situations increase risk for the private cloud environment.

SDDC Manager automates upgrade and patch management for the SDDC software stack, thereby freeing resources to focus on business critical initiatives, while improving reliability and consistency.

Lifecycle management in SDDC Manager can be applied to the entire infrastructure or to specific workload domains and is designed to be non-disruptive to tenant virtual machines (VMs). By utilizing live VM migration, SDDC Manager can patch software to improve infrastructure security and reliability while maintaining tenant uptime.

Integrates Management of Physical and Virtual Infrastructure

SDDC Manager understands the physical and logical topology of the software defined data center and the underlying components’ relation to each other, and efficiently monitors the infrastructure to detect potential risks, degradations and failures. SDDC Manager provides stateful alert management to prevent notification spam on problem detection. Each notification includes a clear description of the problem and provides remediation actions needed to restore service. Degradations or failures are aggregated and correlated to workload domains to enable a clear view of the impact of any issue to the business services being deployed within a domain. Therefore, SDDC Manager can greatly reduce the mean time to resolution across organizational and technology silos.

Scalability and Performance

Cloud Foundation delivers a private cloud instance that can be easily deployed within an existing corporate network. Based on a scale-out, hyper-converged architecture, a Cloud Foundation implementation can start as small as 4servers, and can scale out to multiple racks. Additional capacity and performance can easily be added linearly in increments as small as one server at a time within a single rack, scaling out to 8 full racks per SDDC Manager instance. Cloud Foundation automatically discovers any new capacity and adds it into the larger pool of available capacity for use.