Sometime yesterday, VMware announced the existence of VMware Validated Designs, which are a series of architecture designs validated by VMware experts. These appear to be a number of fluid designs (sorry to use a brave liquid word there but you’ll see what I mean) which will be updated regularly, meaning that the design principles espoused within will not be stuck at a single release version and more importantly will not be stuck at a single product. The inter-operability and compatibility (or not) between a variety of the VMware products which make up their SDDC offerings will be laid out upfront.
Right now, there is an early access community opened up for folks to go and take a look at the first two designs here. As an example, the first of these, the SDDC Foundation Reference Architecture, incorporates VSOM 6.1, vCenter 6.0 U1, VSAN 6.1 and NSX 6.2.
For those VMware customers like myself, who don’t get access to the partner kits and other assistance and need to get the job done themselves from a design perspective, I can see that this is a bit like having a consultant in your back pocket. A validated Design gives you something to work from, a solid foundation to build an SDDC, since the design docs lay out basic requirements and quickly move on to design configs, required ports, examples of VLANs and routing and so on. There’s also video linked in the docs to go through how to install it all. What you’re not going to get here though is any from the trenches experiences that a consultant would be able to relate to you and no guidance as to how your requirements should be dealt with if they differ from the template, as the reference model “just works, OK?”. That said, you do see explanations within the document to explain why specific configurations are recommended. In short, it doesn’t replace a solid VMware Partner / consultant / Architect in any way, this just aims to raise the basic standards for everyone else and that has to be a good thing.
There is some very interesting content within the first two docs (do you have a separate vCenter just to run your management cluster for instance?) and there are already two more specific use cases in the pipeline, as you can see next;
You can download the VMware Validated Design poster by clicking on the image below;
These things are going to be required reading for all of us who need some level of approval on SDDC designs, for if you’ve not read them, maybe your boss or your customer has!