The infrastructure and orchestration domain contain the NFVI abstractions for compute, storage, and networking. It also contains the Virtualized Infrastructure Manager (VIM), which is the resource orchestration component of the NFV platform.

Compute - VMware ESXi

ESXi is the hypervisor software that abstracts the physical x86 server resources from the VNFs. Each compute server is called a host in the virtual environment. ESXi hosts are the fundamental compute building blocks of vCloud NFV. ESXi host resources can be grouped to provide an aggregate set of resources in the virtual environment that is called a cluster. Clusters logically separate the management and VNF components. ESXi hosts are managed by the VMware vCenter® Server Appliance™ that is part of the VIM components. For new features, see the vSphere documentation .

Host Management - VMware vCenter Server

VMware vCenter Server™ is the centralized management interface for compute and storage resources in the NFVI. It provides an inventory of allocated virtual to physical resources, manages inventory-related information, and maintains an overview of the virtual resource catalogs. vCenter Server collects data about the performance, capacity, and state of its inventory objects. It exposes APIs to other management components for fine-grained control, operation, and monitoring of the underlying virtual infrastructure.

Networking - VMware NSX-T Data Center

NSX-T Data Center is the software-defined networking component of the vCloud NFV reference architecture. It allows CSPs to programmatically create, delete, and manage software-based virtual networks. NSX-T Data Center also leverages technologies for high-performance workloads such as DPDK. These networks serve the communication between VNF Components and provide customers with dynamic control over their service environments. Dynamic control is enabled through tight integration between the resource orchestration layer and NSX-T Data Center.

Network multitenancy is implemented with NSX-T Data Center by assigning tenants their virtual networking components and providing different network segments. A two-tiered architecture is used in the NSX-T Data Center design to implement a provider and tenant separation of control across the logical switching and routing fabric. Logical switching is supported in two modes, N-VDS Standard and N-VDS Enhanced, both of which support the overlay and VLAN-backed networks. The fully distributed routing architecture enables routing functionality closest to the source. This structure gives both provider and tenant administrators complete control over their services and policies.

NSX-T Data Center is derived by three separate but integrated planes: management, control, and data. Each of these planes is a set of process, modules, and agents residing on VMware NSX® Manager™ and transport nodes.

Storage - VMware vSAN

vSAN is the native vSphere storage component in the NFVI virtualization layer, providing a shared storage pool between hosts in the vSphere cluster. With vSAN, storage is shared by aggregating the local disks and flash drives that are attached to the host. Other third-party storage solutions with storage replication adapters that meet the VMware storage compatibility guidelines are also supported.

Resource Orchestration - VMware vCloud Director for Service Providers

VMware vCloud Director for Service Providers is the VIM component that vCloud NFV exposes as the interface for the VNF life cycle management. It uses vCenter Server and NSX Manager to orchestrate compute, storage, network, and imaging infrastructure services from a single, programmable interface.