In OpenShift Container Platform version 4.11, you can install a cluster on VMware vSphere by deploying it to VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS.

Once you have configured your VMC environment for OpenShift Container Platform deployment, you use the OpenShift Container Platform installation program from the bastion management host, co-located in the VMC environment. The installation program and control plane automates the process of deploying and managing the resources needed for the OpenShift Container Platform cluster.

Setting up VMC for vSphere

You can install OpenShift Container Platform on VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS hosted vSphere clusters to enable applications to be deployed and managed both on-premise and off-premise, across the hybrid cloud.

VMC on AWS Architecture

You must configure several options in your VMC environment prior to installing OpenShift Container Platform on VMware vSphere. Ensure your VMC environment has the following prerequisites:

  • Create a non-exclusive, DHCP-enabled, NSX-T network segment and subnet. Other virtual machines (VMs) can be hosted on the subnet, but at least eight IP addresses must be available for the OpenShift Container Platform deployment.

  • Allocate two IP addresses, outside the DHCP range, and configure them with reverse DNS records.

    • A DNS record for api.<cluster_name>.<base_domain> pointing to the allocated IP address.

    • A DNS record for *.apps.<cluster_name>.<base_domain> pointing to the allocated IP address.

  • Configure the following firewall rules:

    • An ANY:ANY firewall rule between the OpenShift Container Platform compute network and the internet. This is used by nodes and applications to download container images.

    • An ANY:ANY firewall rule between the installation host and the software-defined data center (SDDC) management network on port 443. This allows you to upload the Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS) OVA during deployment.

    • An HTTPS firewall rule between the OpenShift Container Platform compute network and vCenter. This connection allows OpenShift Container Platform to communicate with vCenter for provisioning and managing nodes, persistent volume claims (PVCs), and other resources.

  • You must have the following information to deploy OpenShift Container Platform:

    • The OpenShift Container Platform cluster name, such as vmc-prod-1.

    • The base DNS name, such as companyname.com.

    • If not using the default, the pod network CIDR and services network CIDR must be identified, which are set by default to and, respectively. These CIDRs are used for pod-to-pod and pod-to-service communication and are not accessible externally; however, they must not overlap with existing subnets in your organization.

    • The following vCenter information:

      • vCenter hostname, username, and password

      • Datacenter name, such as SDDC-Datacenter

      • Cluster name, such as Cluster-1

      • Network name

      • Datastore name, such as WorkloadDatastore

        It is recommended to move your vSphere cluster to the VMC Compute-ResourcePool resource pool after your cluster installation is finished.

  • A Linux-based host deployed to VMC as a bastion.

    • The bastion host can be Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) or any another Linux-based host; it must have internet connectivity and the ability to upload an OVA to the ESXi hosts.

    • Download and install the OpenShift CLI tools to the bastion host.

      • The openshift-install installation program

      • The OpenShift CLI (oc) tool

You cannot use the VMware NSX Container Plug-in for Kubernetes (NCP), and NSX is not used as the OpenShift SDN. The version of NSX currently available with VMC is incompatible with the version of NCP certified with OpenShift Container Platform.

However, the NSX DHCP service is used for virtual machine IP management with the full-stack automated OpenShift Container Platform deployment and with nodes provisioned, either manually or automatically, by the Machine API integration with vSphere. Additionally, NSX firewall rules are created to enable access with the OpenShift Container Platform cluster and between the bastion host and the VMC vSphere hosts.

VMC Sizer tool

VMware Cloud on AWS is built on top of AWS bare metal infrastructure; this is the same bare metal infrastructure which runs AWS native services. When a VMware cloud on AWS software-defined data center (SDDC) is deployed, you consume these physical server nodes and run the VMware ESXi hypervisor in a single tenant fashion. This means the physical infrastructure is not accessible to anyone else using VMC. It is important to consider how many physical hosts you will need to host your virtual infrastructure.

To determine this, VMware provides the VMC on AWS Sizer. With this tool, you can define the resources you intend to host on VMC:

  • Types of workloads

  • Total number of virtual machines

  • Specification information such as:

    • Storage requirements

    • vCPUs

    • vRAM

    • Overcommit ratios

With these details, the sizer tool can generate a report, based on VMware best practices, and recommend your cluster configuration and the number of hosts you will need.

vSphere prerequisites

Internet access for OpenShift Container Platform

In OpenShift Container Platform 4.11, you require access to the internet to install your cluster.

You must have internet access to:

  • Access OpenShift Cluster Manager to download the installation program and perform subscription management. If the cluster has internet access and you do not disable Telemetry, that service automatically entitles your cluster.

  • Access Quay.io to obtain the packages that are required to install your cluster.

  • Obtain the packages that are required to perform cluster updates.

If your cluster cannot have direct internet access, you can perform a restricted network installation on some types of infrastructure that you provision. During that process, you download the required content and use it to populate a mirror registry with the installation packages. With some installation types, the environment that you install your cluster in will not require internet access. Before you update the cluster, you update the content of the mirror registry.

VMware vSphere infrastructure requirements

You must install the OpenShift Container Platform cluster on a VMware vSphere version 7 instance that meets the requirements for the components that you use.

Table 1. Version requirements for vSphere virtual environments
Virtual environment product Required version

VM hardware version

15 or later

vSphere ESXi hosts

7.0.2 or later

vCenter host

7.0.2 or later

Installing a cluster on VMware vSphere version 7.0.1 or earlier is now deprecated. These versions are still fully supported, but version 4.11 of OpenShift Container Platform requires vSphere virtual hardware version 15 or later. Hardware version 15 is now the default for vSphere virtual machines in OpenShift Container Platform. To update the hardware version for your vSphere nodes, see the "Updating hardware on nodes running in vSphere" article.

If your vSphere nodes are below hardware version 15 or your VMware vSphere version is earlier than 6.7.3, upgrading from OpenShift Container Platform 4.10 to OpenShift Container Platform 4.11 is not available.

Table 2. Minimum supported vSphere version for VMware components
Component Minimum supported versions Description


vSphere 6.7u3 and later with HW version 15

This version is the minimum version that Red Hat Enterprise Linux CoreOS (RHCOS) supports. See the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 supported hypervisors list.

Storage with in-tree drivers

vSphere 6.7u3 and later

This plug-in creates vSphere storage by using the in-tree storage drivers for vSphere included in OpenShift Container Platform.

You must ensure that the time on your ESXi hosts is synchronized before you install OpenShift Container Platform. See Edit Time Configuration for a Host in the VMware documentation.

Network connectivity requirements

You must configure the network connectivity between machines to allow OpenShift Container Platform cluster components to communicate.

Review the following details about the required network ports.

Table 3. Ports used for all-machine to all-machine communications
Protocol Port Description



Network reachability tests





Host level services, including the node exporter on ports 9100-9101 and the Cluster Version Operator on port 9099.


The default ports that Kubernetes reserves





virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN)




Host level services, including the node exporter on ports 9100-9101.


IPsec IKE packets


IPsec NAT-T packets



Kubernetes node port



IPsec Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP)

Table 4. Ports used for all-machine to control plane communications
Protocol Port Description



Kubernetes API

Table 5. Ports used for control plane machine to control plane machine communications
Protocol Port Description



etcd server and peer ports

VMware vSphere CSI Driver Operator requirements

The following requirements must be met in order to install the CSI Driver Operator:

  • VMware vSphere version 7.0.1 or later

  • Virtual machines of hardware version 15 or later

  • No third-party CSI driver already installed in the cluster

If a third-party CSI driver is present in the cluster, OpenShift Container Platform does not overwrite it. The presence of a third-party CSI driver prevents OpenShift Container Platform from upgrading in a future release.

Additional resources

vCenter requirements

Before you install an OpenShift Container Platform cluster on your vCenter that uses infrastructure that the installer provisions, you must prepare your environment.

Required vCenter account privileges

To install an OpenShift Container Platform cluster in a vCenter, the installation program requires access to an account with privileges to read and create the required resources. Using an account that has global administrative privileges is the simplest way to access all of the necessary permissions.

If you cannot use an account with global administrative privileges, you must create roles to grant the privileges necessary for OpenShift Container Platform cluster installation. While most of the privileges are always required, some are required only if you plan for the installation program to provision a folder to contain the OpenShift Container Platform cluster on your vCenter instance, which is the default behavior. You must create or amend vSphere roles for the specified objects to grant the required privileges.

An additional role is required if the installation program is to create a vSphere virtual machine folder.

Roles and privileges required for installation
vSphere object for role When required Required privileges

vSphere vCenter



vSphere vCenter Cluster

If VMs will be created in the cluster root


vSphere vCenter Resource Pool

If an existing resource pool is provided