The VMware Validated Design for Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) enables an IT organization to automate the provisioning of common repeatable requests and to respond to business needs with more agility and predictability. Traditionally this has been referred to as IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, however the VMware Validated Design for Software-Defined Data Center extends the typical IaaS solution to include a broader and more complete IT solution.

The VMware Validated Design architecture is based on a number of layers and modules, which allows interchangeable components be part of the end solution or outcome such as the SDDC. If a particular component design does not fit a business or technical requirement for whatever reason, it should be possible for the component to be swapped out for another similar one. The VMware Validated Designs are one way of putting an architecture together. They are rigorously tested to ensure stability, scalability and compatibility. Ultimately, the system is designed in such a way as to ensure the desired IT outcome will be achieved.

Figure 1. Architecture Overview

Overview that includes Service Management on the left, physical, virtual, and cloud management layers in the middle, and security on the right

Physical Layer

The lowest layer of the solution is the Physical Layer, sometimes referred to as the core layer, which consists of the compute, network and storage components. Inside the compute component sit the x86 based servers that run the management, edge and tenant compute workloads. This design gives some guidance for the physical capabilities required to run this architecture, but does not make recommendations for a specific type or brand of hardware.


All components must be supported. See the VMware Compatibility Guide.

Virtual Infrastructure Layer

The Virtual Infrastructure Layer sits on top of the Physical Layer components. The Virtual Infrastructure Layer controls access to the underlying physical infrastructure is controlled and allocates resources to the management and tenant workloads. The management workloads consist of elements in the virtual management layer itself, along with elements in the Cloud Management Layer, Service Management, Business Continuity and Security areas.

Cloud Management Layer

The Cloud Management Layer is the top layer of the stack. Service consumption occurs at this layer.

This layer calls for resources and orchestrates the actions of the lower layers, most commonly by means of a user interface or application programming interface (API). While the SDDC can stand on its own without other ancillary services, other supporting components are needed for a complete SDDC experience. The Service Management, Business Continuity and Security areas complete the architecture by providing this support.

Service Management

When building any type of IT infrastructure, portfolio and operations management play key roles in continuous day-to-day service delivery. The Service Management area of this architecture mainly focuses on operations management, in particular monitoring, alerting and log management.

Operations Management

The architecture of the operations management layer includes management components that provide support for the main types of operations in an SDDC. For the micro-segmentation use case, you can perform monitoring, logging with vRealize Log Insight.

Within the operations layer, the underlying physical infrastructure and the virtual management and tenant workloads are monitored in real-time. Information is collected in the form of structured data (metrics) and unstructured data (logs). The operations layer also knows about the SDDC topology, that is physical and virtual compute, networking, and storage resources, which are key in intelligent and dynamic operational management. The operations layer consists primarily of monitoring, logging, backup and restore, disaster recovery and security compliance adherence. Together, these components ensure that service management, business continuity, and security areas are met.

Business Continuity

An enterprise-ready system must contain elements to support business continuity by providing data backup, restoration, and disaster recovery. When data loss occurs, the right elements must be in place to prevent permanent loss to the business. This design provides comprehensive guidance on how to operate backup and restore functions, and includes run books with detailed information on how to fail over components in the event of a disaster.


All systems need to be secure by design. A secure design reduces risk and increases compliance while providing a governance structure. The security area outlines what is needed to ensure the entire SDDC is resilient to both internal and external threats.