This section describes how the SDDC software components work within a Cloud Foundation system.


ESXi is a type 1 hypervisor used to implement virtualization on bare metal systems. ESXi provides for compute virtualization within the software-defined data center and is a foundational building block for implementing a private cloud.

Cloud Foundation uses ESXi as the foundation for creating workload domains. SDDC Manager groups hosts into vSphere clusters managed by vCenter Server. vSphere HA provides high availability to protect against ESXi host failures.

vCenter Server

vCenter Server provides for management of a VMware virtualized environment with one or more ESXi hosts. SDDC Manager deploys one vCenter Server per workload domain. By default, all vCenter Servers are configured in enhanced linked mode.

Platform Services Controllers

During bring-up, SDDC Manager deploys two Platform Services Controllers in the management domain. These instantiate an SSO domain. All vCenter Servers (management domain and compute workload domains) are registered with the SSO domain and configured in enhanced link mode.


vSAN provides storage systems for the SDDC. It pools together local flash devices and/or hard disks to provide a highly resilient shared datastore suitable for a variety of workload domains including business-critical applications, virtual desktops, remote IT, DR, and DevOps infrastructure.

In Cloud Foundation, each workload domain contains one vSphere cluster. 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. See the Administering VMware Cloud Foundation guide for more information.


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.

NSX comprises of one NSX Manager and three Controllers. NSX Manager maps to a single vCenter Server environment. Therefore, each workload domain includes one NSX Manager instance and three NSX Controller instances.

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 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 on the management domain in a three node cluster. With vRealize Log Insight, administrators can monitor logs for both the physical and virtual components through a single interface. The default vRealize Log Insight license covers the management domain. You need to provide an additional license for using vRealize Log Insight with workload domains.