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VMware Validated Designs – A POD by POD Breakdown

In my last post I gave an introduction to the VMware Validated Design PODs – Management POD, Edge POD and Compute POD.  In this post I’d like to go over each of these PODs in a more detail.

Management POD

B3-F1Every IT infrastructure has a basic set of infrastructure components needed to instantiate the environment.  In the VMware Validated Design, these infrastructure components go into what is called the Management POD. In both the Data Center Foundation and IT Automation Cloud, the Management POD is comprised of a minimum of four ESXi hosts.  These four hosts are configured in a vSphere cluster with HA and DRS both enabled.  Hence you will often see the Management POD referred to as a Management Cluster.  Storage for the Management Cluster is provided using VSAN, which is nice as it eliminates any dependency on an external storage subsystem, while still providing a high-performing and highly scalable storage solution.  It is on this management cluster that we run all the SDDC “infrastructure” components, to include, but by no means limited to the: Platform Services Controller, vCenter Server, NSX Manager, NSX Controllers, etc.  Additional infrastructure components are also typically run on the Management Cluster, these can include Active Directory, DNS, DHCP and the like.

Edge POD

B3-F2Next, we have the Edge POD.  Of course, in the SDDC Security is paramount and a key aspect of maintaining a secure SDDC is having full control over all the data coming into and exiting the SDDC.  There should of course be no “back doors” into or out of the SDDC!  To achieve this, the VMware Validated Design includes a separate and dedicated Edge POD that essentially acts as a gateway for all traffic leaving and entering the SDDC.  The Edge POD is comprised of 3 ESXi hosts which are also configured in a vSphere cluster, again with both HA and DRS enabled.  Like the Management cluster, storage for the Edge Cluster is provided by VSAN.  In the Edge cluster we run, along with other things, the three NSX controllers that will be used to used to create and configure the logical networking components needed to instantiate the necessary transport zones and logical switches used as part of the SDDC gateway.

Compute POD

B3-F3Finally, an SDDC isn’t much good without user workloads, and this is where the Compute PODs come in.  Within the SDDC the VMs and applications run securely inside one or more compute PODs.  Like the Management POD, the Compute POD is comprised of a minimum of four ESXi hosts.  These four hosts are configured in a vSphere cluster with HA and DRS both enabled.  Storage for the Compute cluster can be any supported storage type to include VSAN, NFS, iSCSI, Fibre Channel, etc.  Compute PODs share a common transport zone with the Edge POD and include additional virtual switches that are used to isolate the traffic and help secure the different user workloads. NSX Edge devices that are used to perform routing, switching, NAT’ing, load balancing and other network services for the workloads.

That completes my quick breakdown of each of the VMware Validated Design PODs.  The real beauty behind this design is that once you get it implemented it establishes a highly robust and highly scalable infrastructure on which you can continue to build and evolve your SDDC.

To learn more about the VMware Validated Designs and the Software-Defined Data Center be sure to keep checking back for future posts.

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