The physical layer in Standard SDDC contains the compute, storage, and network resources in your data center.

The compute, storage and network resources are organized in pods. The physical layer also includes the physical network infrastructure, and storage setup.

Figure 1. Physical Configuration of the SDDC


At the physical layer, a pod is a logical grouping of hardware that supports a certain function and is easy to replicate. Pods can have different configurations of server, storage, and network equipment. In large environments, each pod spans one rack, but in smaller environments you can aggregate multiple pods into a single rack.

This VMware Validated Design uses the following types of pods:

Management Pod

Runs the virtual machines of the components that manage the data center, such as vCenter Server, NSX Manager, and NSX Controller.

This VMware Validated Design uses one management pods that occupies half a rack.

Shared Edge and Compute Pod

The shared edge and compute pod runs the required NSX services to enable north-south routing between the data center and the external network, and east-west routing inside the data center. This shared pod also hosts the tenant virtual machines (sometimes referred to as workloads or payloads). As the environment grows, additional compute-only pods can be added to support a mix of different types of workloads for different types of Service Level Agreements.

Compute Pod

Compute pods host the tenant virtual machines (sometimes referred to as workloads or payloads). You can mix different types of compute pods and provide separate compute pools for different types of SLAs.


This VMware Validated Design uses a Layer 3 leaf-and-spine network architecture.

  • A leaf switch is typically located inside a rack and provides network access to the servers inside that rack. Leaf switches are also called Top of Rack (ToR) switches.

  • A spine switch is in the spine layer and provides connectivity between racks. Links between spine switches are typically not required. If a link failure between a spine switch and a leaf switch occurs, the routing protocol ensures that no traffic is sent to the spine switch that has lost connectivity.

Regions and Availability Zones

Availability zone

Represent the fault domain of the SDDC. Multiple availability zones can provide continuous availability of an SDDC. This VMware Validated Design supports one availability zone per region.


Each region is a separate SDDC instance. You use multiple regions for disaster recovery across individual SDDC instances.

In this VMware Validated Design, regions have similar physical and virtual infrastructure design but different naming.

Table 1. Regions in VMware Validated Design


Disaster Recovery Role

Region-Specific Domain Name

Region A



Region B




This VMware Validated Design provides guidance for the storage of the management components. The design uses two storage technologies:

Primary Storage

vSAN storage is the default storage type for the SDDC management components. All design, deployment and operational guidance are performed on vSAN.

The storage devices on vSAN ready servers provide the storage infrastructure. Because this VMware Validated Design uses vSAN in hybrid mode, each rack server must have minimum one SSD and two HDD devices that form a disk group with capacity.

Secondary Storage

NFS storage is the secondary storage for the SDDC management components. It provides space for workload backup, archiving log data and application templates.