In VMware Cloud Foundation, you perform specific operations and use unique constructs for automated SDDC deployment and maintenance.



availability zone

A collection of infrastructure components. Each availability zone is isolated from the other availability zones to prevent the propagation of failure or outage across the data center. In VMware Cloud Foundation, you implement availability of workloads across availability zones by using vSAN stretched clusters.

Application virtual networks (AVNs)

Virtual networks backed by overlay or VLAN NSX segments using the encapsulation protocol of VMware NSX. An AVN uses a single IP address space to span across data centers.


Deployment and initial configuration of a VMware Cloud Foundation system. During the bring-up process, the management domain is created and the VMware Cloud Foundation software stack is deployed on the management domain.

commission a host

Adding a host to VMware Cloud Foundation inventory. The host becomes unassigned.


The ability to dynamically configure servers to meet the needs of your workloads without physically moving any hardware components. You bind disaggregated hardware components (compute, network, storage, and offload components) together to create a logical system based on the needs of your applications.

dirty host

A host that has been removed from a cluster in a workload domain. A dirty host cannot be assigned to another workload domain until it is decommissioned, re-imaged, and commissioned again.

decommission a host

Removing an unassigned host from the VMware Cloud Foundation inventory. SDDC Manager does not manage decommissioned hosts.

NSX Edge cluster

A logical grouping of NSX Edge nodes. These nodes run on a vSphere cluster, and provide north-south and east-west routing and network services for the management or VI workload domain.

free pool

Hosts in the VMware Cloud Foundation inventory that are not assigned to a workload domain.


A server that is imaged with the ESXi software.

install bundle

Contains software for VI workload domains and VMware Aria Suite Lifecycle. You can use an install bundle to deploy later versions of the software components in a new VI workload domain than the versions in the Bill of Materials for VMware Cloud Foundation.


Logical and physical entities managed by VMware Cloud Foundation.
key-based licensing mode A workload domain is in key-based licensing mode when you use the domain's management components under perpetual or term licenses.
keyless licensing mode A workload domain is in keyless licensing mode when you use the domain's management components under a cloud-connected subscription. After a workload domain is deployed in or converted to keyless licensing mode, switching back to key-based mode is not possible.

Kubernetes - Workload Management

With Kubernetes - Workload Management, you can deploy and operate the compute, networking, and storage infrastructure for vSphere with Tanzu workloads. A vSphere with Tanzu workload is an application with containers running inside vSphere pods, regular VMs, or Tanzu Kubernetes clusters.

Lifecycle Manager (LCM)

Automates patching and upgrading of the software stack.

management domain

One or more vSphere clusters of physical hosts that contain the management component VMs, such as vCenter Server, NSX Manager cluster, management NSX Edge cluster, SDDC Manager, and so on. The management domain supports only vSAN storage.

network pool

Automatically assigns static IP addresses to vSAN and vMotion VMkernel ports so that you don't need to enter IP addresses manually when creating a VI workload domain or adding a host or cluster to a workload domain.

update bundle

Contains software to update the VMware Cloud Foundation components in your management or VI workload domain.

principal storage

Required for each vSphere cluster, containing the data of the virtual machines in the cluster. For the management domain, only vSAN principal storage is supported. For a VI workload domain, you set the principal storage when creating the domain or when adding a cluster to the domain. You cannot change the principal storage later. See also supplemental storage.

SDDC Manager

A software component that provisions, manages, and monitors the logical and physical resources of a VMware Cloud Foundation system. SDDC Manager provides the user interface for managing VMware Cloud Foundation, CLI-based administrator tools, and an API for further automation.


A bare-metal server in a physical rack. After imaging, it is referred to as a host.

supplemental storage

Extends the capacity of the workload domain for hosting more virtual machines or storing supporting data, such as backups. You can add or remove supplemental storage to clusters in the management or VI workload domain at any time.

unassigned host

A host in the free pool that does not belong to a workload domain.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager (vLCM)

A vCenter Server service, which is integrated with VMware Cloud Foundation, that enables centralized and simplified life cycle management of ESXi hosts.

virtual infrastructure (VI) workload domain

One or more vSphere clusters that contain customer workloads. VMware Cloud Foundation scales and manages the life cycle of each VI workload domain independently. The vCenter Server instance and NSX Manager cluster for a VI workload domain are physically located in the management domain, while the NSX edge nodes - on the VI workload domain.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager baseline

A grouping of multiple bulletins. You can attach a baseline to an ESXi host and check the compliance of the host against the associated baseline. According to the type of content, baselines are patch baselines, extension baselines, and upgrade baselines. SDDC Manager creates the required baseline and baseline group for updating a cluster in a workload domain.

vSphere Lifecycle Manager image

A precise description of the software, components, vendor add-ons, and firmware to run on an ESXi host. You set up a single image and apply it to all hosts in a cluster, thus ensuring cluster-wide host image homogeneity.

workload domain

A policy-based resource container with specific availability and performance attributes that combines vSphere, storage (vSAN, NFS, VMFS on FC, or vVols) and networking (VMware NSX) into a single consumable entity. A workload domain can be created, expanded, and deleted as part of the SDDC life cycle operations. It can contain clusters of physical hosts with a corresponding vCenter Server instance to manage them.

VMware Cloud Foundation supports two types of workload domains - the management domain and one or more VI workload domains.