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 VMware Cloud Foundation 

Create a Virtual Infrastructure (VI) Workload Domain

Welcome to this demonstration on creating a Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domain in VMware Cloud Foundation.

A workload domain is a logical construct that represents an allocation of compute (vSphere), storage (vSAN, NFS, or VMFS on FC) and networking (NSX-T) resources. Note that the NSX Manager instance may be shared with other workload domains; NSX-T can support multiple workload domains associated with a single NSX Manager.

Workload domains can be created, expanded, and deleted as part of the SDDC lifecycle operations. Each workload domain consists of one or more vSphere cluster(s) with a corresponding vCenter Server and NSX Manager instance.

For further information on workload domains please consult the VMware Cloud Foundation Operations and Admin Guide


In this demonstration we will deploy a new Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domain.  This new domain will use VMware vSAN for storage, and VUM for life cycle management.

In this example, we begin in the vSphere web client where we see a single vCenter server configured with 4 hosts


  • Click [Banner] to acknowledge that this vCenter server is managed by SDDC Manager as part of a Cloud Foundation Deployment

Here we can see a Cloud Foundation Management Domain.   Note there are 4 hosts configured and 4 resource pools

  • Click [SDDC Manager] browser tab which takes you to the SDDC Manager dashboard page.  Here is an overview of the Cloud Foundation deployment.  Note there are 12 hosts in the Cloud Foundation inventory, 4 of which are allocated to the Management Domain

  • Click [Workload Domains] 
  • Click [+ Workload Domain]

Here, we will initiate the process of creating a new VI Workload Domain.

  • Click [VI - Virtual Infrastructure]
  • Workload domains can be configured to use either vSAN, NFS, or Fibre Channel (FC) storage.  In this example we are using vSAN.
  • Click [vSAN] radio button
  • Click [Begin] 

We begin by giving the workload domain a name.

  • Click [Virtual Infrastructure Name] field

The new domain will be named wld01.

  • Click [Organization Name] field

We set the organization name to Lab.

Next, we select the update manager that will be used for lifecycle management within the new workload domain. In this example, we select vSphere Update Manager (VUM)

  • Click [Enable VUM] radio button
  • Click [Next]

Here, we will set the cluster name to wld01-clus01.

  • Click [Cluster Name] field
  • Click  [Next] 
  • Click [Compute] to configure the IP address, FQDN, and root credentials for the workload domain's vCenter instance. The FQDN must be resolvable via DNS.
  • Click [Next]
  • Click [Networking] to configure the overlay VLAN ID along with the hostnames, IP addresses, and password for the NSX-T Manager cluster.  Note, here again the FQDNs for the NSX-T servers need to be added to DNS prior to creating the new workload domain. 
  • Click [Scroll bar]
  • Click [Networking] to continue entering the NSX-T Manager cluster details
  • Click [Next]

Next, we specify the settings for the default vSAN storage policy.  Here we will accept the default Failures to Tolerate (FTT) value of 1.

  • Click [1] radio button

With the vSAN FTT policy set to 1, a minimum of three hosts need be assigned to the domain.  As this domain will be used to host production workloads, we will add a fourth host to facilitate host maintenance and provided an added level of protection against server failures.

  • Click [Next]
  • Click [scroll bar] 
  • Click [Checkboxes] for the first three hosts in the list
  • Click [Scroll bar]
  • Click [Checkbox] to add the forth host

Now we see that four hosts have been selected: esxi-5, esxi-6, esxi-7, and esxi-8.

  • Click [Next]

Here we assign the license keys that will be used for the new domain.  Note that we added the NSX-T license prior to creating the new domain.

  • Click [Select License] for NSX-T for vSphere
  • Click [NSX-T Data Center] license
  • Click [Select License] for VMware vSAN
  • Click [VMware vSAN] license
  • Click [Select License] for VMware vSphere
  • Click [VMware vSphere] license
  • Click [Next]

We are presented with a summary of the object names that will be created in the vSphere web client.  These values are derived from the input values we provided.  We review the names to ensure they align with the required naming conventions.  If we need to make changes, we can go back and make updates.  

  • Click [Scroll]
  • Click [Next]

With the input parameters complete, we are ready to begin creating the new domain. 

  • Click [Scroll Bar] to review the domain settings
  • Click [Finish]

The SDDC Manager combines the separate tasks needed to create the new domain into a workflow that is executed to deploy the new domain.

  • Click [Expansion Arrows] on the tasks pane to expand the view

Here we see the workflow “Creating Domain wld-01” is running.  It will take approximately 90 minutes to create the new domain.  During this time the SDDC Manager will deploy a new vCenter Server instance, create the vCenter inventory, add the four ESXi hosts and configure a 4-node vSAN cluster, deploy and configure NSX-T, and prepare the hosts for NSX.

  • Click [Creating domain wld01]

We are able to view the subtasks that make up the workflow. Here, we have accelerated the demonstration so that all tasks are now complete.

  • Click [Scroll Bar] to view the automated tasks
  • Click [X] to close the tasks pane

At the Workload Domains page we now see the wld01 Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domain.

  • Click [wld01] to view the configuration of this new workload domain.

The Summary tab shows the wld01 is configured for vSAN and the NSX-T Manager details as well as the CPU, Memory and storage allocation

  • Click [Services]

Shortcuts to the wld01 vCenter server and NSX-T cluster are listed

  • Click [Hosts]

Here you can see the configuration of the 4 hosts that have been configured as part of wld01

  • Click [Clusters] for a cluster level view of this workload domain.  Workload domains can be expanded and configured with multiple clusters
  • Click [Hosts] in the Inventory view.  Note the SDDC Manager All Hosts tab has not yet been refreshed with the updated workload domain information
  • Click [Scroll bar]
  • Click [Unassigned Hosts] tab.  Here SDDC Manager has an updated inventory of unassigned hosts.  Hosts ESXi-5 to ESXi-8 are now no longer listed in the free pool
  • Click [All Hosts] tab.  SDDC Manager now displays the updated configuration of all assigned and unassigned hosts in the SDDC Manager inventory.
  • Click [vSphere web client] browser tab. 
  • Click [Refresh]

The vSphere web client now shows the new vCenter server and data center details

  • Click [The Display Pane] and expand the listed data center and clusters.  SDDC Manager has automated the entire configuration of hosts, vCenter server, vSAN and NSX
  • Click [mgmt-cluster]
  • Click [Datastores] to view the connected vSAN data store.  The Management domain has also been manually configured with an additional NFS 3 data store
  • Click [wld01-clus01] and note the vSAN datastore which was configured for wld01 as part of the workload domain creation process


This completes our demonstration on creating a new Virtual Infrastructure Workload Domain.

In this demonstration we saw how private cloud capacity is easily allocated for hosting compute workloads by creating workload domains.  We saw how the advanced automation capabilities of the SDDC Manager made it easy to create a new domain comprised of a dedicated vCenter Server instance, a four-node vSAN cluster, and with VMware NSX-T to provide networking and security services.  

For more Cloud Foundation demos visit the Cloud Foundation Resource Center at vmware.com/go/vcfrc 

For more information on VMware Cloud Foundation, visit our website at vmware.com/go/cloudfoundation.



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