The VMware Cloud Foundation Design Guide contains a design model for VMware Cloud Foundation (also called VCF) that is based on industry best practices for SDDC implementation.

The VMware Cloud Foundation Design Guide provides the supported design options for VMware Cloud Foundation, and a set of decision points, justifications, implications, and considerations for building each component.

Intended Audience

This VMware Cloud Foundation Design Guide is intended for cloud architects who are familiar with and want to use VMware Cloud Foundation to deploy and manage an SDDC that meets the requirements for capacity, scalability, backup and restore, and extensibility for disaster recovery support.

Before You Apply This Guidance

The sequence of the VMware Cloud Foundation documentation follows the stages for implementing and maintaining an SDDC.

To apply this VMware Cloud Foundation Design Guide, you must be acquainted with the Getting Started with VMware Cloud Foundation documentation and with the VMware Cloud Foundation Release Notes. See VMware Cloud Foundation documentation.

For performance best practices for vSphere, see Performance Best Practices for VMware vSphere 8.0 Update 1.

Design Elements

This VMware Cloud Foundation Design Guide contains requirements and recommendations for the design of each component of the SDDC. In situations where a configuration choice exists, requirements and recommendations are available for each choice. Implement only those of them that are relevant to your target configuration.

Design Element



Required for the operation of VMware Cloud Foundation. Deviations are not permitted.


Recommended as a best practice. Deviations are permitted.

VMware Cloud Foundation Deployment Options in This Design

This design guidance is for the all architecture models of VMware Cloud Foundation. By following the guidance, you can examine the design for these deployment options:

  • Single VMware Cloud Foundation instance.

  • Single VMware Cloud Foundation instance with multiple availability zones (also known as stretched deployment). The default vSphere cluster of the workload domain is stretched between two availability zones by using vSAN and configuring vSphere DRS rules and BGP routing accordingly.

  • Multiple VMware Cloud Foundation instances. You deploy several instances of VMware Cloud Foundation to address requirements for scale and co-location of users and resources.

    For disaster recovery, workload mobility, or propagation of common configuration to multiple VMware Cloud Foundation instances, you can deploy NSX Federation for the SDDC management and workload components.

  • Multiple VMware Cloud Foundation instances with multiple availability zones. You apply the configuration for stretched clusters for a single VMware Cloud Foundation instance to one or more additional VMware Cloud Foundation instances in your environment.

vCenter Single Sign-On Options in This Design

This design guidance covers the topology with a single vCenter Single Sign-On domain in a VMware Cloud Foundation instance and the topology with several isolated vCenter Single Sign-On domains in a single instance. See vCenter Single Sign-On Design Requirements for VMware Cloud Foundation.

VMware Cloud Foundation Design Blueprints

You can follow design blueprints for selected architecture models and topologies that list the applicable design elements. See VMware Cloud Foundation Design Blueprints.

VMware Cloud Foundation Glossary

See the VMware Cloud Foundation Glossary for constructs, operations, and other terms specific to VMware Cloud Foundation. It is important to understand these constructs before continuing with this design guidance.