VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation Workload Domain Expansion

Last year, VMware introduced a new design construct known as a Workload Domain (see EVO SDDC Workload Domains).  Workload Domains allow datacenter administrators to deploy capacity for specific workload types using a policy-driven approach on top of modular, standardized hardware.  Workload Domains are an integral part of VMware Cloud Foundation.

VMware Cloud Foundation leverages SDDC Manager to perform the following tasks:

  • Workload Domain Creation – Rapidly deploy infrastructure for a new application based on capacity, availability, performance, and network requirements.
  • Workload Domain Expansion – Add storage, compute, and network capacity to an existing Workload Domain.
  • Workload Domain Deletion – Repurpose Workload Domain resources that are no longer being utilized.
  • Lifecycle Management – Keep Workload Domains up-to-date with the latest VMware Software and Patches.

I wanted to share a recent experience I had with Workload Domain Expansion.

Last weekend I was conducting a few application performance tests in my VMware Cloud Foundation environment. I began with a workload domain that consisted of three hosts which provided a 19.649 TB vSAN datastore.  I later decided to conduct some further testing with a larger data set that required an additional host and 6 TB of storage.

I remembered my days as an administrator and the painstaking process required to request resources in the past…

  • Call the Storage Team put in a request for additional storage,
  • Call the Server Team to have a new physical server provisioned,
  • Call the Networking Team to have them configure the physical network,
  • wait…
  • Coordinate activities between the teams – Networking Team must wait for Server Team; the Server Team must wait for Storage Team…
  • wait…
  • Reconfigure or Troubleshoot when configuration steps were missed or information was incorrectly entered

I immediately appreciated how easy VMware Cloud Foundation makes provisioning resource requests.  Today they can be facilitated in a matter of minutes, let me show you how.

The first step is to login to SDDC Manager and verify that additional resources are available.  SDDC Manager provides a view of all Resources on the Main Dashboard – here I can see that I have allocated 19.649 TB out of the 39.298 TB of total storage.


Now that I have confirmed that I have available storage, the next step is to navigate to the Workload Domain Details page.  Under Cluster Info I can see that my Workload Domain (Management-GSS-01) VRACK-CLUSTER is currently allocated 19.649 TB of Storage. To add an additional 6 TB of Storage, I’ll start by clicking the EXPAND DOMAIN link.


Next, I’ll choose the Expand Method: By Capacity. A Workload Domain can be expanded by adding additional CPU, Memory, or Storage resources.  I have entered in 6 TB of Storage.


Upon review, I can see that adding 6 TB of storage will automatically provision another host.


Once the Expand Domain workflow has been triggered, SDDC Manager will allocate an available host and automate the following tasks:


Prior to beginning the expansion, a backup is taken of the new host.


TOR switch ports will be enabled, the required VLANs are added, and link aggregation is configured.


The host is added to the existing cluster, Virtual SAN is enabled, and HA is reconfigured.

During the expansion I can monitor the workflow tasks on the System Status page.


While the workflow ran, I stepped out to make a cup of coffee. When I returned, it had completed and I was ready to resume my performance testing using the additional infrastructure that was provisioned.  A process that once involved multiple teams, meetings, and at times stretched on for days, can now be completed in a matter of minutes.

The ability to rapidly deploy and expand Workload Domains in a repeatable and consistent manner allows me to focus more on testing application performance and to spend less time worrying about deploying the required infrastructure.

To learn more about VMware Cloud Foundation visit vmware.com/cloudfoundation


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