VMware Cloud Foundation is an integrated software stack that uses SDDC Manager -- an automated lifecycle management tool -- to bundle compute (vSphere), storage (VMware vSAN) and network virtualization (NSX) into a single platform that can deployed on premises as a private cloud or run as a service within a public cloud. Cloud Foundation helps to erase the traditional administrative silos in data centers, merging compute, storage and network provisioning to facilitate end-to-end support for application deployment.
By integrating vSphere and vSAN, Cloud Foundation allows the data center cloud administrator to use flash arrays in a server, build a virtual storage area network (VSAN) out of those arrays and pool them directly into vSphere. By integrating vSphere and NSX, Cloud Foundation allows the data center cloud administrator to use microsegmentation to attach policies to the application and fully abstract workloads from the infrastructure, improving security, portability and scalability. Cloud Foundation also automates all of the lifecycle operations -- installation, configuration, operation and so on -- of the entire VMware software stack, features policy-driven Workload Domains and monitors both the physical topology of the software-defined data center, as well as its underling components.
Cloud Foundation is designed with data center cloud administrators -- more specifically, VMware administrators -- in mind, because it enables them to provision an application environment instantaneously, rather than send out requests and wait for storage and network to be provisioned.
Cloud Foundation also integrates with pre-existing VMware products, including VMware vRealize Suite, VMware Integrated OpenStack, VMware Integrated Containers and VMware Horizon, and it leverages VMware vCenter Server for VM management, monitoring and provisioning.
Cloud Foundation comes with three deployment options: Ready Systems, which deploys Cloud Foundation with prequalified vSAN Ready Nodes and networking switches; Integrated Systems, which deploys Cloud Foundation with software stack preinstalled and integrated on qualified hardware; and As a Service from the Public Cloud, which runs Cloud Foundation as a service, managed by public cloud providers.