A vCloud Director server group consists of one or more vCloud Director servers. These servers share a common database, and are linked to an arbitrary number of vCenter Server systems and ESXi hosts. Network services are provided to the vCenter Server systems and vCloud Director by the VMware vShield Manager™ component from VMware vCloud® Networking and Security™ or by the VMware NSX Manager™ component from VMware NSX™ for vSphere®.

A typical installation creates a vCloud Director server group comprising several servers. Each server in the group runs a collection of services called a vCloud Director cell. All members of the group share a single database. Each cell in the group connects to multiple vCenter Server systems, the hosts that they manage, and each vShield Manager or NSX Manager that is configured to support each connected vCenter Server system.

vCloud Director Architecture Diagram for an Installation That Uses vShield Manager
The cluster contains four Cloud Director servers, each of which runs a Cloud Director cell. The cluster is connected to vSphere, and to the Cloud Director database.

The vCloud Director installation and configuration process creates the cells, connects them to the shared database, and establishes the first connections to a vCenter Server system, that vCenter Server system's associated vShield Manager or NSX Manager, and its hosts. A system administrator can then use the vCloud Director Web Console to add vCenter Server systems, the vShield Manager or NSX Manager associated with the added vCenter Server system, and the added vCenter Server system's hosts to the vCloud Director server group at any time.