Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation 3.0

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) 3.0 is now GA. This is a major new release and it comes with a lot of new features and changes compared to the predecessor 2.3.x

What’s new 

  1. Support for all vSAN ReadyNodes in the vSAN VMware Compatibility Guide
    Expanded hardware support with ability to use vSAN ReadyNodes in the VMware Compatibility Guide (VCG) for vSAN.
  2. Support for customer’s own network vendor and topology choice
    New flexibility enables customers provide their choice of network switches, network topology, and network management tools.
  3. Enhanced support for vRealize Suite components
    Including improved workflows for deploying and connecting vRealize Suite components to workload domains.
  4. Cloud Foundation Builder virtual appliance
    New and streamlined method for Cloud Foundation deployment and SDDC initial bring-up using the Cloud Foundation Builder virtual appliance.
  5. New user interface based on a common VMware framework and improved workflows
    Redesigned SDDC Manager interface based on the next-generation Clarity interface framework.
  6. Skip version upgrade capability for Platform Service Controllers, vCenter Server, and ESXi
    Ability to apply cumulative upgrades for these components.
  7. Support for multiple clusters in a workload domain
    Ability to support multiple clusters per vCenter Server in VI workload domains.
  8. Full certificate management in the SDDC Manager dashboard
    You can now manage, configure, and install Microsoft Certificate Authority signed certificates to the SDDC Manager user interface.
  9. Dual Availability Zone (AZ) vSAN Stretched Clusters
    Manual guidance to deploy vSAN stretched clusters on Cloud Foundation across two Availability Zones, based on VVD
  10. Network Pools allow to manage the VMkernel IP addressing (vSAN, vMotion) allocation, directly from SDDC Manager, in the same fashion NSX Manager used to do for VTEPs.

Points 2, 5, 8 and 9 represent a big step forward and improvement in my opinion.Too many customers have been asking stretched cluster support so it’s finally coming (soon) based on VVD.

Prerequisites

SDDC Manager will no more configure the network for you (TORs, inter-rack switches) so basically you are in control and responsible for whichever network topology and design you want to connect to. This means also a broader selection of switches and greater flexibility. For this reason appropriate VLANs and IP planning is required for each type of traffic – at the very minimum there are vSphere Management, vMotion, vSAN, VXLAN.My friend Kevin Tebear from VMware Technical Marketing Team wrote a more detailed post on this topic
Not only that but even the management switch requirement has been waived and so, if you don’t need OOB connectivity (unusual) then you can opt out from having a dedicated management switch. 
DNS resolution has also been removed from SDDC Manager so you won’t need DNS delegation anymore, as used to on 2.x

vCenter Server, vRA, vROps are still licensed separately however you are allowed to use the vRLI instance automatically deployed without having to purchase a full Log Insight license.

Another new feature it’s the introduction of the “Builder VM Support” based on Photon OS, of course provided as OVA. From there you deploy the entire SDDC stack for the management domain. As for ESXi they must be installed before starting the VCF deployment and the L2 connectivity is needed between the ESXi Management vmkernel interface and the Cloud Builder VM. From the builder vm you download and fill in the deployment parameter sheet which is later converted into a JSON file and passed as input to initiate the bringup process.

NOTE

a) VDI workload domains are not available on VCF 3.0 so you would need to deploy a VI (Virtual Infrastructure) WLD and manually deploy Horizon on top

b) VTEPs IP addresses must be managed via DHCP server, there are no IP pool available for VTEPs. If you don’t have a DHCP server available you have only two options really:
can

  1. configure DHCP relay on the TOR switches
  2. let the VXLAN configuration task fail and in doing so VTEPs will use APIPA so self assigned IP addresses

Links

Release Notes https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/3.0/rn/VMware-Cloud-Foundation-30-Release-Notes.html

Poster https://communities.vmware.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadBody/38625-102-2-51973/VCF%203.0_Private_Cloud_Poster.pdf

Download https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_cloud_foundation/3_0 

Planning and Preparation Guide https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/3.0/vcf-30-planprep-guide.pdf

Architecture and Deployment Guide https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/3.0/vcf-30-ovdeploy-guide.pdf 

Operations and Administration Guide https://docs.vmware.com/en/VMware-Cloud-Foundation/3.0/vcf-30-administering.pdf

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