Overview of Oracle Cloud VMware Solution

Oracle Cloud VMware Solution allows you to create and manage VMware enabled software-defined data centers (SDDCs) in OCI.

Solution Highlights

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure VMware Solution gives you full access to the features of a VMware SDDC, along with the following benefits:

  • High availability: All VMware components are distributed across different fault domains within the OCI region’s availability domains.
  • Scalability: Using dense shapes, you can start with 3 ESXi hosts and scale up to 64 hosts in a single SDDC. If you use standard shapes, you can start with 3 ESXi hosts and scale up to 32 hosts in a single ESXi cluster within the SDDC.
  • Lift and shift: Migration of on-premises VMware workloads to a VMware Solution SDDC is seamless.
  • Full integration: Because the SDDC resides in a virtual cloud network (VCN), it can be configured to communicate with other OCI resources such as compute instances, DB systems and Autonomous Databases, and so on.
  • Manageability: The OCI Console provides workflows to help SDDC creation and networking configuration.
  • Layer 2 networking: SDDCs are configured with VLANs, which support applications that need layer 2 networking to run in the public cloud.

Bring your own hypervisor deployment of ESXi on bare metal compute instances is not supported.

SDDC Details

There are two types of SDDC configuration available: a multi-host SDDC, and a single host SDDC used for testing and short-term development.

A Multi-Host SDDC has the following properties:

  • From 3 to 64 ESXi hosts on supported OCI bare metal compute instances
  • A version of VMware software on each ESXi host
  • A subnet and VLANs in an OCI VCN
A Single Host SDDC has the following properties:
  • A single ESXi host on an OCI bare metal dense shape instance
  • A version of VMware software on each ESXi host
  • A subnet and VLANs in an OCI VCN

Single host SDDCs are not supported using standard shapes.
See SDDCs for more information.

The number of OCPUs, Physical Memory and storage capacity in each SDDC is dependent on the supported bare metal compute instances used to create the SDDC. See Supported Shapes for more information.

Supported Shapes

VMware Solution supports both Standard and Dense shapes for ESXi hosts. Each shape type has different benefits and limitations to consider when planning your SDDC.

Dense Shapes

  • Dense shapes provide local NVMe storage and don't require additional block volume storage.
  • vSAN converged storage technology replicates data across all the ESXi hosts in the SDDC.
  • All pricing commitment types and HCX license types are available for Dense shapes.
  • Dense shapes can be deployed across multiple availability domains.
  • No memory limit, network bandwidth limit or VNIC count limit.
  • You can use a dense shape to create a single-node SDDC.
Processor Type Shape OCPU Available Core Configurations
Intel BM.DenseIO2.52 52 52
AMD BM.DenselO.E4.128 128 32, 64, 128
See Compute Dense I/O Shapes for more detail.

Standard Shapes

  • Standard shapes provide a lower-cost option than Dense shapes.
  • Standard shapes require additional block volume storage. See the following section for more detail.
  • Standard shapes aren't available across multiple availability domains.
  • Monthly pricing commitment is not available for standard shapes.
  • Advanced HCX licensing is not available for standard shapes.
  • Limits for memory, bandwidth, and number of VNICs. (See table.)
  • Single-node SDDCs using standard shapes aren't supported.
Processor Type Shape OCPU Available Core Configurations Memory (GB) Network Bandwidth Limit (Gbps) Max VNIC Limit
Intel BM.Standard2.52 52 52 768 50 200
Intel BM.Standard3.64 64 16, 32, 48, 64 1024 100 256
AMD BM.Standard.E4.128 128 32, 64, 96, 128 2048 100 256
See Compute Standard Shapes for more detail.

Data Storage

Standard shape SDDCs leverage the Block Volume service for durability. All volumes are automatically replicated for you, helping to protect against data loss. Multiple copies of data are stored redundantly across multiple storage servers with built-in repair mechanisms. See Block Volume Durability for more information.

If you select a standard shape when you create an SDDC, the workflow automatically creates a management datastore block volume with the following characteristics:
  • Capacity: 8 TB
  • Default VPUs/GB: 10 (Balanced)
If you want more storage, you can create additional volumes during the create SDDC workflow or using the Block Volume service. You are charged for all storage at your regular block volume rates. The following limits apply to the SDDC data storage pool:
  • Maximum volumes: 32
  • Minimum volume size: 50 GB
  • Maximum volume size: 32,768 GB (32 TB)

Shielded Instances

When you create an SDDC, you can choose to use shielded instances for ESXi hosts. Shielded instances harden the firmware security on ESXi hosts to defend against malicious boot level software. Shielded instances for VMware Solution provide the following features:
  • Secure boot checks the signature of each piece of boot software, including firmware drivers, EFI applications and the operating system. If the signature is valid, the server boots and the firmware gives control to the operating system. If the signature is not found in the valid signatures database, the system will not boot. See the VMware Secure Boot Documentation for more information.
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a computer chip that can securely store artifacts like signatures, certificates and encryption keys used to authenticate the platform. See the VMware TPM Documentation for more information.

If your ESXi hosts are shielded instances, you can use Virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM) on your VMs. vTPM is a software representation of a physical TPM that can be used by VMs. See the VMware vTPM Documentation for more information.


Shielded instances must be enabled when you create the SDDC. All hosts in created the SDDC will be shielded instances. You cannot enable this option later, or for specific ESXi hosts. If you have already created an SDDC without enabling shielded instances, and later want to use shielded instances, you must recreate the SDDC.

For general information about shielded compute instances in OCI, see Shielded Instances.

Using Reserved Capacity

When you create a new ESXi host, you can choose to create it with previously reserved capacity, or create it with on-demand capacity.

On-demand capacity means that the compute capacity required to create the host is provisioned at the time of the request. You start paying for the capacity when it's provisioned.

Capacity reservations enable you to reserve instances in advance so that the capacity is available for your workloads when you need it. Capacity reservations provide the following benefits:

  • Assurance that you have the capacity necessary to manage your workload. Reserved capacity is available for your tenancy to consume at any time.
  • No size or time commitments. Create a reservation with as little or as much capacity as you need, and delete the reservation at any time to stop paying for it.
  • When instances that use reserved capacity are terminated, the capacity is returned to the reservation.

Capacity reservation is not supported for an SDDC that uses multiple availability domains.

When a host is still in a reserved capacity pool, billing is based on Reserved Capacity SKU pricing. After the host is provisioned from reserved capacity pool to an SDDC, the host switches to VMware Solution SKU pricing based on the commitment interval you select.

If the host is deleted before the commitment period ends, you continue to be billed for the host for the duration of the commitment.

Inactive hosts in a reserve capacity pool are billed independently of VMware Solution.

If you want to use reserved capacity for VMware hosts, you must first set up a capacity reservation. For more information, see Capacity Reservations.

Oracle Cloud VMware Solution Architecture

The following diagram shows how the various components of the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution SDDC are deployed on OCI bare metal compute instances, and how the solution is integrated into the OCI environment.

Diagram showing the architecture of the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution

The diagram shows three ESXi hosts of an SDDC that resides in an OCI VCN. The center host shows the installed VMware software components for compute (vSphere), network (NSX-T), and storage (vSAN) support. The NSX overlay manages the flow of traffic between the VMs, and between the VMs and the rest of the resources in the solution. The VCN here includes various gateways that allow connectivity between the SDDC and an on-premises network, the internet, and the Oracle Services Network.

Host Distribution and Availability Domains

To provide for high throughput and low latency, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure VMware Solution SDDCs are deployed by default across a minimum of three fault domains within a single availability domain in a region. This architecture provides for low latency, high throughput connections to provide maximum performance and reliability.

If your SDDCs require deployment across multiple availability domains, this option is available at request. There are some considerations and potential limitations in a multi-AD solution:

  • A multi-availability domain can prevent data loss in the event of a single AD. If a host is lost in the SDDC, VMs are restarted on an available host in another availability domain.
  • Careful consideration must be taken when requesting to provision an SDDC across multiple availability domains. Performance may be impacted given the possibility of increased network latency and storage throughput when compared with a single availability domain deployment.
  • As a multi-availability domain SDDC scales upward, demand on the network also grows. Replicating data across hosts in different availability domains impacts such functions as vSAN storage synchronization, and rebuild and resync times. Additional management functions can also impact performance of customer workloads.
  • Oracle recommends VMware SDDCs deployed across availability domains within a region do not exceed a maximum of 16 ESXi hosts.

To request a multi-availability domain deployment, contact the Oracle Cloud VMware Solution team here.

For general information, see About Regions and Availability Domains.

HCX Manager

When you provision an SDDC, you can enable HCX Manager (not shown in the diagram). HCX is an application mobility platform that simplifies application migration, workload rebalancing, and business continuity across data centers and clouds. For HCX to function properly in your VMware solution, you must have:
  • A FastConnect connection for intersite communication
  • A NAT gateway as required by HCX Manager for license activation, updates, and VMware enhanced support

HCX Manager requires connectivity to a VMware SaaS portal provided by a NAT gateway. Read more about VMware's requirements for HCX Manager: Why does HCX Manager require connectivity for activation and updates?

About the VMware Software

OCI's VMware software bundle contains vSphere, vSAN, NSX, vCenter, and HCX components to support compute, storage, and network needs for a fully functional VMware environment.

  • vSphere: vSphere is VMware's virtualization platform for unified management of the SDDC's CPU, storage, and networking infrastructure. Two key components of vSphere are ESXi hypervisor and vCenter Server.
  • NSX-T: NSX-T Data Center provides the SDDC with its virtual networking and security capabilities. The NSX-T deployment includes NSX Manager unified appliances with NSX-T Local Manager and NSX-T Controller, and NSX-T Edge nodes.
  • vSAN: Oracle Cloud VMware Solution SDDCs use VMware's vSAN storage technology, which provides a single shared datastore for compute andx management workloads (VMs).
  • HCX: The Hybrid Cloud Extension is an application mobility platform that removes complexity from application and workload migration. HCX is optionally installed as a plug-in when you set up an SDDC. You can choose to install HCX Advanced at no additional cost, or HCX Enterprise as a billed upgrade. See HCX License Types for more information.

When you provision the SDDC, you select the version of this software bundle to install on the ESXi hosts. You can change the SDDC's software version later. When you add ESXi hosts to the SDDC, the version of software installed on new hosts is the version associated with the SDDC.


  • If you change the VMware software version after provisioning an SDDC, the new version is used only on ESXi hosts that you add to the SDDC. The software version of existing hosts isn't changed.
  • Changes that you make to the SDDC by using the Oracle Cloud InfrastructureConsole, API, or CLI aren't automatically made in vCenter. For example, if you change the software version or the SSH keys, the change applies only to ESXi hosts that you add to the SDDC. To change these properties for existing hosts, you must make the applicable updates in vCenter manually.
The following tables list the components and versions for current VMware software bundles:
vSphere 8.0
Component Version Build
VMware ESXi ESXi 8.0 20513097
VMware vCenter Server Appliance vCenter Server 8.0 20519528
VMware NSX-T Data Center 20598726
HCX Cloud 4.6.3 21913437
HCX Connector 4.6.3 21913513
vSphere 7.0
Component Version Build
VMware ESXi ESXi 7.0 U3k 21313628
VMware vCenter Server Appliance vCenter Server 7.0 U3k 21290409
VMware NSX-T Data Center 3.2.2 20737185
HCX Cloud 4.5.2 20914430
HCX Connector 4.5.2 20914338

The following table shows versions of the software bundle that have reached an End of support state.

Software Version vSphere vSAN NSX-T

6.7 update 3*

6.7 U3

6.7 U3

6.5 update 3*

6.5 U3

6.5 U3

* vSphere 6.5 and vSphere 6.7 reached the End of General Support from VMware Solution on October 15, 2022. Oracle will provide commercially reasonable support for provisioning of vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 environments when they enter the Technical Guidance phase after that date. Oracle reccomends that you use the latest version of vSphere when you create your SDDC.

Upgrading VMware Software from 6.x to 7.x

Because there are significant architectural changes to the platform from vSphere version 6.x to 7.x., OCI provides a workflow that guides you through the upgrade process step-by-step. To perform the upgrade, the workflow provisions a new vSphere 7.0 SDDC and ESXi hosts on OCI VMware Solution and uses VMware HCX to migrate workloads to the new vSphere 7 SDDC. During the upgrade workflow two more VLANs are required for provisioning and migration. You can create the VLANs before you start the workflow, or let the workflow create them for you.

See Upgrading VMware Software for more information and instructions.


OCI only supports an in-place upgrade workflow from version 6.x to 7.x. To upgrade from 7.x to 8.x, create a new SDDC and hosts using version 8.x. Then, migrate workloads from the 7.x SDDC to the 8.x SDDC, and transfer the host billing commitments. See Transferring Billing Commitments for more information.

HCX License Types

The Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) is an application mobility platform that simplifies application migration, workload rebalancing, and business continuity across data centers and clouds. To run HCX, each physical socket at the destination must have at least one license key assigned. The number of on-premises keys provided depends on the HCX license type.

License Number of Keys Standard Shape SDDCs Dense Shape SDDCs Notes
Advanced 3 Not supported Included at no additional cost This license type allows migrating fewer workloads with some application downtime.
Enterprise 10 Enterprise license included at no additional cost. No option to downgrade to an Advanced license. Billed upgrade. You can choose to downgrade to an Advanced license later.

This license type allows migrating many mission-critical workloads with zero downtime.

Any HCX Enterprise charges applied are billed monthly and are independent from host billing intervals. After SDDC provisioning is complete, you can view the HCX Monthly Billing Cycle End Date on the Details page.

If you are using dense shapes for your SDDC, you can change your HCX license type:
  • Updgrading to Enterprise: Increases the number of on-premises connection keys issued from 3 to 10. The upgrade work request is initiated immediately. The HCX Enterprise billing cycle begins as soon as the work request is complete.
  • Downgrading to Advanced: Decreases the number of on-premises connection keys from 10 to 3. You must specify 3 license keys to retain after the downgrade. The downgrade request remains in a pending state until the HCX Monthly Billing Cycle End Date. You can cancel the downgrade request as long as it is still in a pending state.

Standard shapes include the Enterprise license type at no cost, and are free. You can't change the license type in SDDCs that use standard shapes.

For more information, see Upgrading an SDDC's HCX License and Downgrading an SDDC's HCX License.

Billing Options

OCI's VMware Solution bundle offers flexible billing options so you can choose a payment interval that best suits your requirements. Each pricing interval requires a minimum host runtime commitment and offers different pricing advantages. For full pricing information for each option, see Oracle Compute Pricing and Oracle Cost Estimator.
Pricing Interval Required Commitment Notes


Hourly pricing requires a minimum of 8 hours of committed host runtime

Use this interval for test projects or short-term high utilization events where extra capacity is required for a very limited time.


Monthly pricing requires a minimum of 1 month of committed host runtime.

This interval is a common option, and is the default selection.


One year pricing requires a minimum of 1 year of committed host runtime.

Use this interval for long-term projects such as workload or application migration to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Every Three Years

Three year pricing requires a minimum of 3 years of committed host runtime.

Use this interval for very long-term projects or mission-critical workloads that aren't easily migrated.

You select an initial pricing interval when you create an SDDC. Any hosts that are created during the SDDC provisioning are subject to the selected interval commitment. After the SDDC is provisioned, you can create additional hosts in the SDDC cluster with longer or shorter pricing intervals at any time. Hosts don't all have to use the same pricing interval, so you can select a pricing interval that best suits the purpose of the host.

You can change a pricing interval for individual hosts. When you change the pricing interval for a host, the new pricing interval does not take effect until the date and time that the old interval ends.

For example, let's say you create a host and choose the pricing interval of Every Three Years. If you later decide the host should have a Monthly pricing interval, the new Monthly pricing interval won't take effect for three years. If you cancel your commitment before the end of the selected pricing interval, billing continues until the interval ends.

Carefully consider your workload and billing requirements before selecting a pricing interval.

Billing Continuation

You can transfer the billing commitment, HCX commitment, and billing end date from one ESXi host to another. Billing commitments can be transferred from a deleted host or an existing host. For example, you can:
  • Use unexpired commitments left over from deleted ESXi hosts to create new hosts.
  • Swap billing commitments from one active ESXi host to another.
  • Transfer commitments from one host to another during a software upgrade or to replace a failed host.

For more information, see Transferring Billing Commitments.

Additional Documentation Resources

The following Oracle Cloud VMware Solution playbooks and white papers are available: