• Abhishek Shukla

What's new with VCF 4.0

Lately, I wrote an introductory article about VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) on Dell EMC VxRail and explained about the various components associated with it.

The version I used was VCF 3.9 and Recently, VMware announced the updates on its products and VCF 4.0 is one of them. There are few changes from past with respect to architecture. As compared to VCF 3.9, VCF 4.0 proves betterment for hybrid cloud platforms which includes VMware workloads as well as containerized workloads with the integration of vSphere Kubernetes (K8s), VSAN 7, NSX-t and vRealize suite. Yes, you must be thinking I mentioned only NSX-T which is correct, NSX-V is no more available for VCF 4.0. This evolution indicates the shift towards application-centric managemnet and preparing for hybridization of cloud infra with application modernization ready to meet present as well as futuristic needs.


Let's walk through.

Before I talk about architecture, I would like to go through what all products you will be getting with VCF 4.0

  1. SDDC Manager 4.0 (integrated and deployed by Cloud Builder)

  2. VSAN 7.0

  3. vSphere 7 (vCenter and ESXi)

  4. NSX-T 3.0

  5. Workspace One

  6. vRealize Suite 8.1

  7. vRealize Suite LifeCycle Manager (vRSLCM)

  8. vRealize Automation

  9. vRealize Network Insight

  10. vRealize Operations

  11. vRealize Log Insight

Architecture

To recall a bit, VCF has two kinds of architecture models

  1. Standard Model: With this kind of model, there are two types of workload domains a.k.a WLDs are defined. One is "Management Workload" which is dedicated for the managment components of the VCF and another is "Virtual Infrastucture Workload" and is dedicated for the user workloads. Each workload domain is managed by seperate vCenters and have lifecycle management.

  2. Consolidated Model: As the name suggests, this model is suited for small cloud deployments. If I talk about design, there is no separation of management and user workloads. The environment is managed by a single vCenter and workloads are isolated through resource pool


With VCF 4.0, SDDC manager is maintaining SSO replication and it authenticates against SSO domain i.e. any new workload gets added, SDDC manager authenticates that.


picture courtesy : VMware Inc.


The Management Domain is the management plane where SDDC manager and management vCenter server instance with dedicated NSX instance and an edge cluster are there. and the Workload Domain (it could be virtual infrastucture (VI) or VDI) has its own vCenter with NSX instance as well as ESXi servers. In figure, observe that workload domain 1 has NSX instance and workload 2 can create new NSX instance or share the existing one.


Workload Domain can have anything apart from management workloads. For elaboration, workoad domain 1 could be a dedicated domain for modern apps i.e. Linux or Devops cluster (App OS) or containerized apps (K8s) and workload domain 2 could be horizon workload specific (VDIs) cluster and so on.

Networking

With VCF 4.0, the workloads use NSX-T only. The reason is NSX-T provides operational efficiency and brings up CNA support (Cloud Native App) to cloud deployments.


Supported configuration :

Upto 6 pNICs


For Management Domain

- Up to 3 VDS with 2 pNIC per VDS


For Workload Domain

- Up to 3 VDS with 2 pNIC per VDS



MultiSite Deployment

There are three main option for the deployment of VCF

1. VCF Single Site Deployment :

With this kind of deployment, single SDDC manager is responsible for one or more workload domains. Each workload domain can be multi-clustered





2. VCF Stretched Deployment: This is enhanced deployment with single SDDC manager and vCenter which manage stretched VSAN workload domains between 2 sites. Each cluster has option to be stretched and 3rd site for witness




3. VCF MultiSite/Multi-Instance Management: This type of model is mixture of first deployment type which is single site but Multi VCF instances are connected via SDDC through fedration for aggregated visibility and easy of management. This deployment type is applicable when you don't have stretched cluster capabilities.




LifeCycle Management (LCM)

This feature is not comparitively new but has almost same features available. With Lifecycle management, you can have your infrastructure managed with easy upgrades and patching. The SDDC manages is responsible for downloading updates, comparing with the existing components and patching them per cluster basis with timely manner so the components are complaint with hardware compatibility list. SDDC manager LCM takes care of bundle releases by VMware, updates notification, reviews updates, schedules accordingly for updating and monitors and reports if any of the cluster needs attention. Everything is done by SDDC manager UI.



vSphere with Kubernetes

VCF provides the fast way to deliver the developer ready infrastructure. With SDDC mananger, you can create workloads, deploy NSX, deploy Edge cluster, enable workload management with lifecycle the software stack Lifecycle stack for underlying infrastructure like vSphere, NSX-T and VSAN(NFS and VMFS as well) .


picture courtesy : VMware Inc.

The Workload domain manages vSphere Pod service cluster and Pod Service CSI (Container Storage Interface). VMware claims that the creation of the K8s infrastructure with vSphere is easy and flexible with shareable infrastructure with no specialized knowledge of K8s required.


There are lot more to cover for this topic but this was only introduction on what's new with VCF 4.0. Will post new stuff in coming articles. Till then keep reading


Stay Safe !

"An investment in knowledge
always pays the best interest"
                      -             
Benjamin Franklin

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