Unveiling the New VVF and VCF Offerings


In December 2023, VMware announced a significant shift in its product offerings, streamlining its portfolio and transitioning to a subscription-based model. This resulted in two key offerings: VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF) and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF). Let's delve into what each entails and how they cater to different needs.

VMware vSphere Foundation: Streamlined Workload Platform

VVF caters to mid-sized and smaller businesses seeking a simplified yet robust foundation for their virtualized workloads. It includes core components like vSphere with Tanzu (featuring Tanzu Kubernetes Grid integration for containerized applications), vSphere Enterprise Plus for advanced features, vCenter Server Standard for centralized management, and vSAN Enterprise (with optional additional capacity) for software-defined storage. This comprehensive suite empowers businesses to achieve optimal performance, availability, and efficiency while gaining valuable insights into their IT infrastructure.

VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF): The Enterprise Hybrid Cloud Powerhouse

VCF is designed for large enterprises seeking a comprehensive hybrid cloud platform. It offers a complete stack of software components, including:

  • vSphere with Tanzu: This core element provides a foundation for running both traditional virtual machines (VMs) and containerized applications on a single platform. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) integrates seamlessly, allowing developers to deploy and manage Kubernetes clusters within the vSphere environment.
  • vSAN Enterprise: This software-defined storage (SDS) solution delivers scalable, high-performance storage for virtualized workloads. VCF includes a base level of vSAN storage, with the option to purchase additional capacity as needed.
  • NSX Enterprise Plus: This advanced networking and security platform provides micro-segmentation, load balancing, and firewall functionalities, ensuring secure and efficient network communication across hybrid cloud deployments.
  • Aria Suite Enterprise: This comprehensive management platform simplifies day-to-day operations through automation, orchestration, and insightful monitoring. It includes features like Aria Operations for infrastructure and application health monitoring, Aria Automation for automating workflows, and Aria Compliance for regulatory adherence.

Target Audience and Benefits

VCF is ideal for large organizations with complex hybrid cloud environments. Benefits include:

  • Simplified Deployment and Management: VCF offers a single SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) for the entire stack, streamlining procurement and deployment. Aria Suite simplifies ongoing management through automation and insightful dashboards.
  • Enhanced Agility and Developer Experience: TKG integration empowers developers to leverage containers and Kubernetes for faster application development and deployment.
  • Robust Security and Performance: NSX Enterprise Plus ensures secure communication across hybrid cloud environments, while vSAN delivers scalable, high-performance storage.
  • Streamlined Hybrid Cloud Operations: VCF facilitates seamless management of workloads across on-premises and cloud infrastructure, fostering a unified hybrid cloud experience.

VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF)

A Tailored Solution for Mid-Sized Businesses.

VVF caters to mid-sized businesses seeking a cost-effective and simplified platform for data center optimization. While it shares some core components with VCF, it offers a more focused feature set:

  • vSphere Enterprise Plus: This license grants access to all vSphere features, including advanced high availability (HA) and vMotion capabilities for workload mobility.
  • vCenter Server Standard: This central management platform allows for centralized virtual machine provisioning, configuration, and monitoring.
  • vSphere with Tanzu (includes TKG Runtime): Similar to VCF, VVF includes TKG Runtime for deploying and managing containerized applications alongside VMs.
  • vSphere ESXi: This hypervisor forms the foundation of VVF, enabling resource virtualization and efficient workload management.
  • Aria Suite Standard: This core management suite includes Aria Operations for basic infrastructure monitoring and Aria Operations for Logs for log management and analysis.

Target Audience and Benefits

VVF is a compelling solution for mid-sized businesses with established vSphere environments seeking to:

  • Optimize Data Center Operations: VVF delivers core vSphere features for improved performance, availability, and resource utilization.
  • Embrace Hybrid Cloud and Containers: TKG integration empowers businesses to explore containerization and hybrid cloud strategies.
  • Simplify Management: Aria Suite Standard streamlines routine operations with centralized monitoring and logging capabilities.
  • Cost-Effective Subscription Model: The subscription model provides predictable pricing and eliminates the need for upfront capital expenditure on perpetual licenses.

Key Differences Between VCF and VVF

Feature VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF)
Target Audience Large Enterprises Mid-Sized Businesses
Core Functionality Comprehensive Hybrid Cloud Stack Data Center Optimization & Hybrid Ready
vSAN Included (with the option for more) Optional Add-on
NSX NSX Enterprise Plus Not Included (NSX Basic for purchase)
Aria Suite Aria Suite Enterprise Aria Suite Standard
Management Focus Unified Hybrid Cloud Management Streamlined Data Center Operations
Deployment Model Single SKU Individual Licenses
Cost Typically Higher Typically Lower

Choosing Between VCF and VVF

The ideal choice between VCF and VVF depends on your specific needs and organizational size. Here's a breakdown to guide your decision:

  • Choose VCF if

    • You're a large enterprise with complex hybrid cloud requirements.
    • You need robust security, high-performance storage (vSAN), and advanced networking (NSX Enterprise Plus).
    • You require comprehensive cloud management capabilities with Aria Suite Enterprise.
  • Choose VVF if

    • You're a mid-sized business seeking to optimize your existing vSphere environment.
    • You want to explore containerization and hybrid cloud strategies with TKG Runtime.
    • You prioritize cost-effectiveness and a simplified management experience.
    • You don't require advanced features like vSAN or NSX Enterprise Plus (basic versions can be purchased separately).

Choosing the Right Fit: VVF vs. VCF

The ideal choice between VVF and VCF depends on your specific requirements. Here's a quick comparison to guide your decision:

Feature vSphere Foundation (VVF) Cloud Foundation (VCF)
Target Audience Mid-sized & Smaller Businesses Large Enterprises
Focus Workload Management & Efficiency Comprehensive Hybrid Cloud Platform
Core Components vSphere with Tanzu, vSphere Enterprise Plus, vCenter Server Standard, vSAN Enterprise (Optional Additional Capacity) All VVF Components + NSX Enterprise Plus, Aria Suite Enterprise, HCX Enterprise, Richer VVS Ecosystem
Ideal for Basic Virtualization Needs, Streamlined Infrastructure Demanding Applications, Hybrid Cloud Deployments, Advanced Security & Automation


VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) and VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF) represent a strategic shift for VMware, offering subscription-based bundles tailored to different customer segments. VCF empowers large enterprises with a comprehensive hybrid cloud platform, while VVF provides a cost-effective and data center-centric solution for mid-sized businesses. By understanding their unique strengths and target audiences, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your organization's specific needs and future cloud aspirations.

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