July 28, 2021

Blog: Openshift Container Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation with VxRail

Author: Victor (Shi) Chen, shic@vmware.com

Recently, we have published the Solution Reference Architecture “Running Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation”. This solution RA paper provides the architecture, generic design, and deployment guidelines for OpenShift on VMware Cloud Foundation™ on VxRail. The paper showcases VMware Cloud Foundation is suited to meet the demands of modern applications running on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform in a virtualized environment. This blog is a brief introduction to the highlights in the reference architecture.

VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation is an integrated software stack that combines compute virtualization (VMware vSphere®), storage virtualization (VMware vSAN™), network virtualization (VMware NSX®), and cloud management and monitoring (VMware vRealize® Suite) into a single platform that can be deployed on-premises as a private cloud or run as a service within a public cloud. VMware Cloud Foundation bridges the traditional administrative silos in data centers, merging compute, storage, network provisioning, and cloud management to facilitate end-to-end support for application deployment.


Figure 1. OpenShift on VMware Cloud Foundation Solution Architecture

The left side in the figure is the VCF management domain. The right side in the figure is the Openshift workload domain. The management domain can be shared for other workloads, not only for OpenShift.

This figure shows a simple building block for a basic installation of OpenShift with VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail. Based on the customer demands and database size, we can expand the workload domain to include more physical hosts or just deploy more worker node VMs.

Dell EMC VxRail

Dell EMC VxRail is the only fully integrated, preconfigured, and tested HCI system optimized for VMware vSAN and is the standard for transforming VMware environments.

VxRail HCI system software is integrated software that delivers a seamless and automated operational experience, offering 100% native integration between VxRail Manager and VMware vCenter®.

We used Dell EMC VxRail as our infrastructure platform for the testing in this reference architecture. For customers’ deployment, not only VxRail can be used but also vSAN Ready Nodes or other Build-Your-Own hardware can be used for running OpenShift on VMware Cloud Foundation. The key point is that customers must make sure that all the hardware or software components are in VMware’s compatibility list.

VMware vSAN

VMware vSAN is the industry-leading software powering VMware’s software defined storage and HCI solution. vSAN helps modernize Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) by providing administrators a unified storage control plane for both block and file protocols and provides significant enhancements that make it a great solution for traditional virtual machines as well cloud-native applications.

Along with VMware Cloud Native Storage (CNS), we can easily provision and manage persistent storage in a fully automated and scalable way for cloud native applications in a vSAN datastore.

VMware Cloud Native Storage (CNS)

Cloud Native Storage (CNS) is a vSphere and Kubernetes (K8s) feature that makes K8s aware of how to provision storage on vSphere on-demand, in a fully automated, scalable fashion as well as providing visibility for the administrator into container volumes through the CNS User Interface within vCenter. Run, monitor, and manage containers and virtual machines on the same platform—in the same way:

•   Simplify your infrastructure needs, lifecycle, and operations.

•   Lower costs, using a platform you already know for consistent operations across workloads and across clouds.

•   Spend less time managing infrastructure and more time building apps that provide business value.

In this solution, we used CNS for the storage provision and management in Openshift Container Platform.

VMware NSX Data Center and NCP Operator

VMware NSX Data Center is the network virtualization and security platform that enables the virtual cloud network, a software-defined approach to networking that extends across data centers, clouds, and application frameworks.

VMware NSX Container Plugin (NCP) provides the integration between NSX-T Data Center and container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, as well as integration between NSX-T Data Center and container-based PaaS (platform as a service) software products such as OpenShift.

The main component of NCP runs in a container and communicates with NSX Manager and with the OpenShift control plane. NCP monitors changes to containers and other resources and manages networking resources such as logical ports, switches, routers, and security groups for the containers by calling the NSX-T Policy API.

In this solution, we used VMware NSX Data Center and NCP operator for the networking management in Openshift Container Platform.


In this reference architecture, we combined lots of products such as VMware Cloud Foundation, VxRail, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX Data Center, for running and managing Openshift Container Platform. All the software makes it easy to deploy, manage and run Openshift Container Platform in a VMware Cloud Foundation environment. For more details about this reference architecture, read the original “Running Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on VMware Cloud Foundation” document.

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