The VMware Validated Design for Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) enables an IT organization to automate the provisioning of common repeatable requests and to respond to business needs with more agility and predictability. Traditionally this has been referred to as IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, however the VMware Validated Design for Software-Defined Data Center extends the typical IaaS solution to include a broader and more complete IT solution.

The VMware Validated Design architecture is based on a number of layers and modules, which allows interchangeable components be part of the end solution or outcome such as the SDDC. If a particular component design does not fit a business or technical requirement for whatever reason, it should be able to be swapped out for another similar component. The VMware Validated Designs are one way of putting an architecture together. They are rigorously tested to ensure stability, scalability and compatibility. Ultimately, the system is designed in such a way as to ensure the desired IT outcome will be achieved.

Architecture Overview
Overview that includes Service Management on the left, physical, virtual, and cloud management layers in the middle, and security on the right

The lowest layer of the solution is the Physical Layer, sometimes referred to as the 'core', which consists of three main components, Compute, Network and Storage. Inside the compute component sit the x86 based servers that run the management, edge and tenant compute workloads. There is some guidance around the physical capabilities required to run this architecture, however no recommendations on the type or brand of hardware is given. All components must be supported on the VMware Hardware Compatibility guide.

Sitting on the Physical Layer components is the Virtual Infrastructure Layer. Within the Virtual Infrastructure Layer, access to the physical underlying infrastructure is controlled and allocated to the management and tenant workloads. The Virtual Infrastructure Layer consists primarily of the physical host's hypervisor and the control of these hypervisors. The management workloads consist of elements in the virtual management layer itself, along with elements in the Cloud Management Layer, Service Management, Business Continuity and Security areas.

The Cloud Management Layer is the "top" layer of the stack and is where the service consumption occurs. Typically through a UI or API, this layer calls for resources and then orchestrates the actions of the lower layers to achieve the request. While the SDDC can stand on its own without any other ancillary services, for a complete SDDC experience other supporting components are needed. The Service Management, Business Continuity and Security areas complete the architecture by providing this support.

When building any type of IT infrastructure, portfolio and operations management play key roles in continued day-to-day service delivery. The Service Management area of this architecture mainly focuses on operations management in particular monitoring, alerting and log management.

To ensure a system is enterprise ready, it must contain elements to support business continuity in the area of data backup, restoration and disaster recovery. This area ensures that when data loss occurs, the right elements are in place to prevent permanent loss to the business. The design provides comprehensive guidance on how to operate backup and restore functions, along with run books detailing how to fail over components in the event of a disaster.

All systems need to be inherently secure by design. This is to reduce risk and increase compliance while still providing a governance structure. The security area outlines what is needed to ensure the entire SDDC is resilient to both internal and external threats.