VMware Cloud Foundation consists of workload domains which represent an application-ready infrastructure. A workload domain represents a logical unit that groups ESXi hosts managed by a vCenter Server instance with specific characteristics according to VMware best practices.

A workload domain can consist of one or more vSphere clusters, provisioned automatically by SDDC Manager. Each workload domain contains the following components:

  • ESXi hosts

  • One VMware vCenter Server™ instance

  • At least one vSphere cluster with vSphere HA and vSphere DRS enabled.

  • One vSphere Distributed Switch per cluster for system traffic and NSX segments for workloads.

  • One NSX Manager cluster for configuring and implementing software-defined networking.

  • One NSX Edge cluster, added after you create the workload domain, that connects the workloads in the workload domain for logical switching, logical dynamic routing, and load balancing.

  • One or more shared storage allocations.

VMware Cloud Foundation supports two types of workload domains - the management domain and virtual infrastructure (VI) workload domains.

Management Domain

The management domain is created during the bring-up process by VMware Cloud Builder and contains the VMware Cloud Foundation management components as follows:

  • Minimum four ESXi hosts

  • An instance of vCenter Server

  • A three-node NSX Manager cluster

  • SDDC Manager

  • vSAN datastore
  • One or more vSphere clusters each of which can scale up to the vSphere maximum of 64

VI Workload Domains

You create VI workload domains to run customer workloads. For each VI workload domain, you can choose the storage option - vSAN, NFS, vVols, or VMFS on FC.

A VI workload domain consists of one or more vSphere clusters. Each cluster starts with a minimum of three hosts and can scale up to the vSphere maximum of 64 hosts. SDDC Manager automates the creation of the VI workload domain and the underlying vSphere clusters.

For the first VI workload domain in your environment, SDDC Manager deploys a vCenter Server instance and a three-node NSX Manager cluster in the management domain. For each subsequent VI workload domain, SDDC Manager deploys an additional vCenter Server instance. New VI workload domains can share the same NSX Manager cluster with an existing VI workload domain or you can deploy a new NSX Manager cluster. VI workload domains cannot use the NSX Manager cluster for the management domain.