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VMware Cloud Foundation simplifies the deployment of private cloud infrastructure, turning lengthy and complex implementations into fully automated workflows. When the workflow is complete, customers have a complete vSphere + vSAN + NSX infrastructure that is ready to run business workloads, including Horizon 7 for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

In Cloud Foundation, business workloads are run in a construct called ‘Workload Domains’ (to learn more about Workload Domains, see this blog post: https://blogs.vmware.com/cloud-foundation/2016/11/14/workload-domains-break-silos/). There are three types of Cloud Foundation Workload Domains. First, a Management Workload Domain that is automatically created during the Cloud Foundation Bring-Up process. The Management Workload Domain hosts all the management components for your environment (SDDC Manager, vCenter and Platform Services Controllers, NSX Manager, vRealize Log Insight and more).

Next is a Virtual Infrastructure (VI) Workload Domain. The VI Workload Domain creation workflow includes installing ESXi hosts configured for vSAN, plus NSX Controllers. A dedicated vCenter and NSX Manager are deployed into the Management Workload Domain to support each VI Workload Domain. VI Workload Domains are used to run general VMs in your private cloud.

The final type of Workload Domain is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). When choosing to deploy a VDI Workload Domain in SDDC Manager, the cloud administrator provides basic configuration settings including the number of desktops, type of desktops (Instant Clone, Full Clone), assignment type (Floating or Dedicated Desktops), which subnet to use for the virtual desktops, if App Volumes should be installed, and if Unified Access Gateways should be deployed for Connect from Anywhere access to the VDI environment. Finally, an OVA of a Windows 7 or Windows 10 desktop image is uploaded.

With the desired configuration parameters set, two workflows are immediately kicked off. The first workflow lays down a basic VI Workload Domain. Then, the second workflow installs Horizon components based on the users’ inputs. The result is a complete implementation of Horizon 7, along with vSphere, vSAN and NSX all optimally configured to support your VDI environment. In a matter of hours, you’ve used the power of Cloud Foundation to automatically deploy a private cloud infrastructure, plus a Horizon 7 VDI environment – a process that could take weeks to complete if done manually!

A conceptual diagram of a VMware Cloud Foundation VDI Workload Domain

We’ll be exploring in greater detail some of the steps that Cloud Foundation automates during the Create VDI Workload Domain process in my next several blog posts. Stay tuned to learn more about how easily you can deploy complete, consistent Horizon 7 virtual desktop environments using the automation capabilities of VMware Cloud Foundation!