After a good attempt to break into the hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) market with EVO:RAIL and EVO:RACK, VMware delivered a better idea with VMware Cloud Foundation. VMware calls its new VMware Cloud Foundation product a hyper converged infrastructure offering. It’s also meant to be the basis for VMware’s software defined data center (SDDC). Cloud Foundation will be available to run on customers’ premises or in the public cloud, making it the basis for the hybrid cloud which what most customer are moving towards. Cloud Foundation is a bundle of the company’s traditional compute virtualization software vSphere with its NSX network virtualization product and its VSAN software-defined storage area network product. Cloud Foundation also includes a new software management product named SDDC Manager which controls the virtualized compute, network and storage resources. Combined, VMware envisions this system as the basis for building private clouds, running virtual desktops and hosting newly-built applications. But while users can still get the VMware Cloud Foundation bundled with the hardware of qualified hardware manufacturers, some conference attendees liked the option of purchasing just the software from VMware and installing it themselves. What brings Cloud Foundation platform together is VMware SDDC Manager, a core component of Cloud Foundation that allows the cloud admin to manage the cloud infrastructure software as a single unified stack. SDDC Manager provides end-to-end lifecycle automation of the cloud infrastructure software, reducing the time it takes to build and operate the environment by over 80% compared to traditional approaches. The primary functions of the offering are to give cloud operators a tool to deploy, configure, patch and upgrade the entire system including NSX, VSAN and vCenter ESX. It can also automate the deployment of products such as Horizon and vRealize, according to Ajay Patel, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s cloud provider software business unit.