** Updated 6/23/2020 **
The white paper linked below has been updated to note support for running vSphere with Kubernetes on the Management Domain when Application Virtual Networks (AVNs) are used.
When VMware Cloud Foundation 4.0 released in April 2020, it introduced support for VMware vSphere with Kubernetes. With the initial release, users were required to create a virtual infrastructure (VI) domain to enable vSphere with Kubernetes. This meant that a minimum of seven servers was needed to run vSphere with Kubernetes on Cloud Foundation: four hosts for the Cloud Foundation management domain and a minimum of three additional hosts for a separate VI domain. Today, I’m happy to announce that VMware has now certified vSphere with Kubernetes on the management domain. This reduces the minimum host count for deploying vSphere with Kubernetes on Cloud Foundation from seven down to four.
A bit of background on the Cloud Foundation deployment architectures will help put some context around this announcement and explain why support for vSphere with Kubernetes on the Management Domain is coming after the initial release. Cloud Foundation supports two architectures, referred to as the consolidated architecture and the standard architecture.
- In the consolidated architecture, a single vSphere cluster is deployed as part of the Management Domain during bring-up. Resource pools are created on the cluster and used to isolate the management workloads (vCenter Server Instances, NSX Manager Instances, SDDC Manager, and so on) from the compute workloads. The resource pools also control how the CPU and memory resources in the cluster are allocated to the different workloads. A minimum of four hosts are required for the management domain cluster. You can expand the cluster size up to the configuration maximums. This design works well for POCs, test and dev environments, and labs. It is also a good fit for small production deployments.
- In the standard architecture, the management and compute workloads run on separate vSphere clusters in independent workload domains. The management cluster running in the Management Domain is dedicated to running management workloads. Compute workloads get deployed on separate vSphere clusters running inside Virtual Infrastructure (VI) domains. This not only provides physical separation of workloads, but it also places the different workload types behind separate vCenter Server instances. This fosters better security and helps reduce the blast radius associated with any hardware failure or configuration error that could result in an unplanned outage. It also facilitates software updates by allowing software patches and updates to be applied to different workload domains independently. For these reasons, the standard architecture is the preferred, or “recommended” architecture. Up 14 VI Domains can be deployed in a Cloud Foundation environment (14 VI domains plus the Management Domain makes 15 domains in total). Each VI Domain can have multiple vSphere clusters. Each cluster requires a minimum of three hosts and can scale up to the supported configuration maximums.
When we first introduced vSphere with Kubernetes on Cloud Foundation 4.0, the initial testing and validation was done using the standard architecture. As such, when we released VCF 4.0 we announced support for running vSphere with Kubernetes using the standard architecture first. We have since completed the testing needed to certify enabling Kubernetes on the Management Domain and hence this announcement.
The white paper linked below provides an overview of the steps required to enable vSphere with Kubernetes on the Cloud Foundation management domain. We hope this additional qualification of Kubernetes on the Cloud Foundation consolidated architecture will make it easier for you to get started with running vSphere with Kubernetes.
For more information on VMware Cloud foundation visit the VMware Cloud Foundation Resource Center