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VMware Cloud Foundation Basics

from the Hydra High Council May 7th 2019

In a lot of our blogs, we talk about individual VMware solutions that make up parts of our Software Defined Data Center solution(s); such as, NSX, vSAN, vRealize Suite and vSphere. What if there was a solution that combined all of these services and also managed them for you? That would be great right? Well VMware Cloud Foundation, otherwise known as VCF does just that. It has been around for a little while now, but we think it's a great solution for some of our customers to hear about, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide some basic insight into what it is, and then later add some additional blogs that take a deeper dive into the solution.

VCF makes it easy to run and deploy a private and/or hybrid cloud solution and provides an integrated cloud infrastructure which includes compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN), networking and security (NSX). VCF makes it easy to maintain and control infrastructure whether it's in your local data center/private cloud, somewhere on a public cloud like VMware Cloud on AWS, or in a hybrid cloud deployment. VCF also provides Lifecycle automation! Having the ability to seamlessly integrate your private cloud SDDC to a cloud provider such as Amazon provides a ton of business benefits. It allows you to have the same management system that you use for your on-premise SDDC also used to manage an extension of your SDDC that is located on the public cloud. Having that flexibility allows your organization to be elastic, which means it can scale in and out as business and financial requirements require. For many, this is a tremendous benefit because customers now have the opportunity to bring what they have traditionally been accustomed to using on-premise to the cloud, thus reducing training cost for engineers and administrators who support the data center(s).It also means that you maintain end-to-end security that is managed from a central point, instead of many different areas to apply policy, which helps to reduce human errors in policy management.

What does all of this mean for your business? Let's look at some of the key benefits we see with VCF.

  • Dramatically speeds up time to market by helping your organization stand up your SDDC while minimizing the complexities associated with system design, testing, configuration, and provisioning.
  • Enables faster application provisioning by allowing users to request applications and/or resources through a self-service portal.
  • Helps to reduce risk associated with new SDDC deployments. VCF is based on VMware Validated Designs, or VVD. This means the solutions have been pre-tested and validated to help ensure success.
  • Provides a lower TCO! Figures from VMware show a reduced TCO of roughly 30-40% for private cloud deployments.

What controls VCF? That would be SDDC Manager! SDDC manager is responsible for bringing up the Cloud Foundations system and also manages the workload domains. SDDC Manager will perform lifecycle management to make sure the software stays up to date as well, which is really nice since the updates are done from one spot.

Components of SDDC Manager include the SDDC Manger Controller VM which includes the logic for deploying the software stack, management of workload domains, management of hardware task and lifecycle management. There is also the SDDC Manager Utility VM, which contains the updated bundles, and the host-level and NSX backup files.

Lastly, what are the deployment method options for VCF? There are a few main categories listed below, but of course other may exist.

  • Integrated systems that include the hardware and pre-loaded Cloud Foundations software.
  • Deployment of Cloud Foundations on a vSAN ReadyNode.
  • Lastly, we can work with you and your organization to deploy the end-to-end solution, including private cloud solutions and/or hybrid cloud solutions. We can also provide cost assesements to help you and your orginazation determine what make the most business and financial sense, and of course help you and your team get to the desired end goal.

That's it from a high level view, please stay tuned for some more in depth blogs on VCF!