A conceptual diagram of a VMware Cloud Foundation VDI Workload Domain
VMware Cloud Foundation Kubernetes

Getting Started with VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0

Since the major announcements coming out of VMworld 2019 in regard to Project Pacific our Product Management, Architects, and Engineering teams have been working together to deliver our VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 release.

Now let’s get a bit of an overview.

VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 ships vSphere 7, vSAN 7, NSX-T 3.0, and SDDC Manager. For those unaware SDDC Manager is a kin to the automation engine of the Software Defined Data Center. SDDC Manager builds ‘Workload Domains’ which is a purpose built SDDC, which is deployed via a prescriptive architecture.  This architecture allows customers to have consistent and repeatable results, knowing that ever workload domain can be deployed exactly the same.  After the workload domain has been built SDDC Manager is then able to provide lifecycle management through a set of curated and curated patches and upgrades. The lifecycle management process gives customers the peace of mind knowing that their patches are being installed in the correct order, for their deployed software, through an automation engine, and able to be scaled to match the needs of their business.

Some of the highlighted features of Cloud Foundation 4 that we will cover:

  • Embedded PSC Architecture
  • NSX-T 3.0 deployed across Management and Workload Domains
  • vSphere with Kubernetes Deployment
  • NSX Edge Cluster Automation

The Management Domain is the first domain created, which houses the vCenter, NSX Managers, vSAN for storage, NSX Edge Cluster, and SDDC Manager.  If you are familiar with Cloud Foundation, you will notice that we are now using embedded PSCs and NSX-T in the Management Domain.  Also, the NSX Edge Cluster is optional during bringup, however it is the best practice to take advantage of future Multi-Site capabilities.  The edge cluster is available on Day ‘X’ in Management, or in a Workload domain on a per cluster basis using BGP or static routing. Graphical overview on the new architecture:

Through the process of building Workload Domains and automating a consistent and repeatable architecture it allows Cloud Foundation to prepare the platform to accept other software.  One of the flagship features of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 is vSphere with Kubernetes, or the announcement at VMworld 2019, Project Pacific.

Through the deployment of a Workload Domain, a dedicated NSX Instance is deployed purpose built for hosting vSphere with Kubernetes.  Additionally, NSX Edge cluster automation is built into SDDC Manager again with a profile stating you will be using this for K8s.

Once the Workload Domain is built and Edge cluster deployed you can then begin the wizard to enable Workload Management in SDDC Manager.

After confirming your pre-reqs have been met, a validation is run to confirm, and once successful you are able to deploy.

A simple click on ‘Open in vSphere Client’ allows you to finalize the form with IP’s, DNS, NTP and some ingress/egress subnets.  Once information has been provided you can click finish and your Supervisor Cluster is provisioned.

Now you can create a Namespace and enable Harbor and you have Developer Ready Infrastructure.  Your cloud admin can serve the needs of the developer and ultimately provide a cloud like experience in the on premises data center.

In addition, Cloud Foundation 4.0 is releasing initial support for vSphere Lifecycle Management (vLCM).  vSphere 7.0 introduced vLCM, this allows a customer to patch firmware and bios on select qualified hardware.  Once your image is built, it can be imported to SDDC Manager and applied at the cluster level.  This will require the use of homogenous hardware within a cluster to ensure all components are included in the image that is being applied.

You can get started by visiting VMware Cloud Foundation Resource Center located at https://www.vmware.com/go/vcfrc .   In addition other articles have been published:

Announcing General Availability of VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 by Josh Townsend

Delivering Kubernetes at Cloud Scale with VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 by Rick Walsworth


Additional Resources:

Modern Apps Blog: Consistency Matters Tanzu Application Services




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