The Consolidated SDDC differentiates between two types of clusters - consolidated cluster and secondary storage cluster.
Figure 1. Clusters in the Consolidated Software-Defined Data Center

A consolidated cluster (4 ESXi hosts) and a secondary storage cluster are in one rack with two ToR switches.

Consolidated Cluster

The consolidated cluster runs the following services:

  • Virtual machines to manage the SDDC such as vCenter Server, NSX manager, vRealize Automation, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Operations Manager.

  • Required NSX services to enable north-south routing between the SDDC and the external network, and east-west routing inside the SDDC.

  • Virtual machines running business applications supporting different Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Secondary Storage

Secondary storage can be based on NFS, iSCSI or Fibre Channel technology and provide additional storage for backup for Consolidated SDDC. Different types of storage can provide different levels of SLA, ranging from just a bunch of disks (JBODs) with minimal to no redundancy, to fully redundant enterprise-class storage arrays. For bandwidth-intense IP-based storage, the bandwidth of these pods can scale dynamically.


Consolidated SDDC uses VMware vSAN as its primary storage platform, and does not consider block or file storage technology for primary storage. These storage technologies are only referenced for specific use cases such as backups to secondary storage.