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VMware Validated Design – PODs, The Building Blocks of the SDDC

If you’ve spent anytime looking into the VMware Validate Designs, then you’ve surely noticed the designs are built around what VMware is calling PODs.  The use of the term POD can be a bit tricky, at least it was for me.  I think that most of us would readily associate a “POD” with some kind of modular container that is used to store things, and if that’s the case, then you’re on the right track.  Within the context of the VMware Validated Design, a POD actually refers to something called a “Point of Delivery”, but it’s okay to think of a “Point of Delivery” as a type of container used to store things.   Let me explain.


Management POD

In the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) there are several types of workloads.  There are workloads needed to instantiate and support the underlying SDDC infrastructure itself.  For example, in order to create and manage VMs, I first need to have a Platform Service Controller, a vCenter Server, and one or more ESXi hosts.  Before I can create logical switches and transport zones, I need to have an NSX Manager and three NSX Controllers.  You get the idea.  The SDDC is built on-top of an infrastructure which includes a number of VMs and services that are needed to instantiate that infrastructure.  In the VMware Validated Design these SDDC “infrastructure” components are referred to as “management” components, and we have a special place in the SDDC where we run these components – this place is called the Management POD.

Edge Components

Along with the management components, there are additional infrastructure-type workloads that are needed to instantiate the underlying network and security infrastructure that will be used to transport traffic as well as secure and restrict access into and out of the SDDC.  ,While these network components are also a type of infrastructure, they are unique in that they have a special role – they sit on the outside perimeter, or edge, of the SDDC where they act as a gateway.  As such, these infrastructure components are typically referred to as “edge” components.  And here again within the VMware Validated Design we have a special place where we run these SDDC Edge workloads – this place is called the Edge POD.

Compute Components

Finally, with the management and edge infrastructure components in place, we need a place to run the actual applications and user workloads.  After all, hosting applications is the whole reason the SDDC exists in the first place, right?  Within the VMware Validated Design, these user workloads are commonly referred to as “compute” components, and just like the management and edge components we have a special place within the SDDC where these compute workloads run – this place is called the Compute POD.


Each validated design starts with these three basic PODs – the Management POD, the Edge POD and one or more Compute PODs.  These PODs interconnect to instantiate the SDDC.  Things like redundancy, availability, scalability, load balancing, etc. are all designed at the POD level.  As your business grows, you simply add additional PODs in order to scale out the SDDC.

So there you have it, a quick introduction and overview on what the VMware Validated Design PODs are and how they are instrumental in building an SDDC.   For more information, check out the white papers noted below, and of course, don’t forget to check back here for future posts.

The VMware Software-Defined Data Center Foundation White Paper

Automated Provisioning with the VMware Software-Defined Data Center White Paper

Follow me on Twitter!  @Kyle_Gleed

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