Routed, Isolated and Direct networks in vCloud

The three types of networks available in vCloud Director explained

In vCloud Director you have access to three types of networks within the VMware vCloud Director platform for use with your Virtual Datacenters.

Those three networks are:

  • Routed Networks

  • Isolated Networks (Also known as vApp networks)

  • Direct Networks

These networks serve a few different purposes and some have some specific caveats when used. Below is an explanation of those three networks.

Routed Networks

A 'Routed Network' type is only usable if your Virtual Datacenter has a VMware Edge Gateway configured for use, or access to a shared Edge Gateway. Without an Edge Gateway you cannot use a routed network and the portal won't allow it to be provisioned.

This will allow VMs to be connected to a LAN network that uses the Edge Gateway as the router and access to the public internet, and is available to all VMs and vApps within the Virtual Datacenter.

When provisioning a Routed Network you will still need to configure the outbound NAT rules on the Edge Gateway as it does not automatically configure this for you.

Isolated Networks (Also known as vApp Networks)

An 'Isolated Network' can exist in two forms, either at an Organization level (this makes it available to all VMs and vApps within the VDC) or at a vApp level (makes it only available to VMs within a specific vApp).

Typically these networks are known as isolated as they aren't inherently connected to a network that has public internet access, unless you attach it to a VM that is acting as a router.

They can be used to provide an isolated internal network within a vApp or within the Virtual Datacenter itself, which is useful for air-gapping VMs or providing a secure backbone network between VMs that is separate from the router itself.

Direct Networks

A 'Direct Network' (also known as an External Network) is a connection to a VLAN that Hosted Network has passed through to your Virtual Datacenter, this allows for either direct internet access or access to other services routed through our infrastructure.

Some examples of uses of Direct Networks are:

  • a VLAN passed through a cross-connect to another rack managed by the customer

  • a VLAN shared with a colocated Firewall or other hardware

  • a VLAN shared with a DaaS environment

  • A WAN enabled VLAN and IP addressing provided by Hosted Network

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