In VMware Validated Design, a workload domain represents a logical unit that groups ESXi hosts managed by a vCenter Server instance with specific characteristics according to VMware SDDC best practices.

A workload domain exists in the boundaries of an SDDC region. A region can contain one or more domains. A workload domain cannot span multiple regions.

Each domain contains the following components:

  • One vCenter Server instance connected to a pair of Platform Services Controller instances in the same or another workload domain.
  • At least one vSphere cluster with vSphere HA and vSphere DRS enabled.
  • One vSphere Distributed Switch for management traffic and NSX logical switching.
  • NSX components that connect the workloads in the cluster for logical switching, logical dynamic routing, and load balancing.
  • One or more shared storage allocations.

Management Workload Domain

Contains the SDDC management components.

The management workload domain has the following features:

Table 1. Features of the Management Workload Domain
Feature Description
Types of workloads Management workloads and networking components for them.
Cluster types Management cluster
Virtual switch type vSphere Distributed Switch
Software-defined networking NSX for vSphere
Shared storage type
  • vSAN for primary storage
  • NFS for secondary storage
Time of deployment First domain to deploy during initial SDDC implementation
Table 2. Management Workloads for the Management Workload Domain
Component Cluster Location Domain-Specific Instance
vCenter Server Management cluster X
Platform Services Controller pair Management cluster X
NSX Manager Management cluster X
NSX Controller cluster Management cluster X
NSX Edge devices for North-South routing and load balancing Management cluster X
NSX universal dynamic router Management cluster X

Initial Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domain

Contains tenant workloads that use NSX for vSphere for logical networking.

The initial virtual infrastructure (VI) workload domain has the following features:

Table 3. Features of the Initial VI Workload Domain
Feature Description
Types of workloads Tenant workloads and networking components for them.
Cluster types
  • Shared edge and compute cluster
  • Additional compute clusters
Software-defined networking NSX for vSphere
Shared storage type FC/FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, or vSAN
Time of deployment During initial SDDC implementation
Table 4. Management Workloads for the Initial VI Workload Domain
Component Cluster Location Domain-Specific Instance
vCenter Server Management cluster X
Platform Services Controller pair Management cluster
NSX Manager Management cluster X
NSX Controller cluster Shared edge and compute cluster X
NSX Edge devices for North-South routing and load balancing Shared edge and compute cluster X
NSX universal dynamic logical router Shared edge and compute cluster X
NSX dynamic logical router Shared edge and compute cluster X

Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domains with VMware NSX-T

Contain tenant workloads that use NSX-T for logical networking. According to the requirements of your organization, you can deploy multiple workload domains with NSX-T.

A virtual infrastructure workload domain with NSX-T has the following features:

Table 5. Features of a VI Workload Domain with NSX-T
Feature Description
Types of workloads Tenant workloads and networking components for them.
Cluster types
  • Shared edge and compute cluster
  • Additional compute clusters
Virtual switch type
  • vSphere Distributed Switch for traffic from the management workload domain
  • NSX-T Virtual Distributed Switch (N-VDS) for management traffic in the VI workload domain, tenant workload traffic and dynamic routing
Software-defined networking NSX-T
Shared storage type FC/FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, or vSAN
Time of deployment After initial SDDC implementation

In VMware Validated Design 5.0, you deploy the management workloads for the VI workload domain with NSX-T:

Table 6. Management Workloads for a VI Workload Domain with NSX-T in VMware Validated Design 5.0
Component Cluster Location Domain-Specific Instance Cross VI Workload Domain
vCenter Server Management cluster X
Platform Services Controller pair Management cluster
NSX-T Manager Management cluster X X

Deployed with the first VI workload domain with NSX-T

NSX-T Controller cluster Management cluster X X

Deployed with the first VI workload domain with NSX-T

NSX Edge devices for North-South and East-West routing Shared edge and compute cluster X X

Deployed with the first VI workload domain with NSX-T

In VMware Validated Design 5.0.1, you deploy the management workloads for the VI workload domain with NSX-T:

Table 7. Management Workloads for a VI Workload Domain with NSX-T in VMware Validated Design 5.0.1
Component Cluster Location Domain-Specific Instance Cross VI Workload Domain
vCenter Server Management cluster X
Platform Services Controller pair Management cluster
NSX-T Manager cluster Management cluster X X

Deployed with the first VI workload domain with NSX-T

NSX Edge devices for North-South and East-West routing Shared edge and compute cluster X X

Deployed with the first VI workload domain with NSX-T

Operations and Workload Provisioning

All management components for operations management and cloud management are in the management workload domain. When you deploy a VI workload domain, you connect these management components to the vCenter Server instances in the VI workload domains, to the monitoring agents of the virtual machines for the NSX instance for the domain, and to the NSX Manager for the domain.