VMware HCX™ is an application mobility platform designed for simplifying application migration, workload rebalancing and business continuity across datacenters and clouds. Note: This product was formerly known as Hybrid Cloud Extension and NSX Hybrid Connect.
VMware HCX abstracts vSphere-based on-premises and cloud resources and presents them to the applications as one continuous resource. At the core of this is a secure, encrypted, high throughput, WAN optimized, load balanced, traffic-engineered hybrid interconnect that automates the creation of a network extension. This allows support for hybrid services, such as application mobility, on top of it. With HCX hybrid interconnect in place, applications can reside anywhere, independent of the hardware and software underneath.
VMware HCX is designed for the following use cases:
- Application Migration: Easily plan and migrate 1000s of vSphere and non-vSphere VMs within and across datacenters without requiring reboot.
- Migration to Upgrade: Bulk migrate workloads from older 6.x vSphere environments within and across datacenters or clouds to current vSphere versions without requiring an upgrade.
- Workload Rebalancing: Extend application components to exist in the multi-cloud world, burst of additional compute and storage and bulk migrating apps to or from the cloud to help you continually rebalance your cloud footprint to meet business goals.
- Business Continuity and Protection: Protect critical workloads with on demand mobility or schedule for disaster recovery planning seamlessly and securely with no reconfiguration of IPs.
No. VMware HCX can migrate from vSphere versions starting with vSphere 6.x to current versions and solutions such as VMware Cloud Foundation without requiring vSphere upgrades.
HCX can support the following types of application migration:
- Cold Migration - Offline migration of VMs
- Bulk Migration - scheduled bulk VM (vSphere, KVM, Hyper-V) migrations with reboot – low downtime
- HCX vMotion - Zero-downtime live migration of VMs – limited scale
- Cloud to Cloud Migrations – direct migrations between VMware Cloud SDDCs moving workloads from region to region or between cloud providers
- OS Assisted Migration – bulk migration of KVM and Hyper-V workloads to vSphere (HCX Enterprise feature)
- Replication Assisted vMotion - Bulk live migrations with zero downtime combining HCX vMotion and Bulk migration capabilities (HCX Enterprise feature)
HCX is designed to provide simplified large-scale application mobility across any VMware- based SDDC environment including VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Cloud on AWS, Azure VMware Service and all VMware Cloud Provider Partner offerings. Applications can be moved from datacenter to datacenter, datacenter to cloud and from cloud to cloud across regions and providers.
VMware HCX doesn't need MPLS circuits. It overlays hybrid interconnect over physical connections – broadband or dedicated private lines. HCX includes WAN optimization to increase the throughput. You can get started over the Internet and HCX will pick up additional links when available.
HCX is available in two distinct feature sets. HCX Advanced core functionality is bundled into most SDDC bundles as well as through our cloud partners. HCX Enterprise provides additional functionality and is available as an add-on license. See HCX Licensing Guide for details.
HCX Advanced includes the ability to migrate using HCX vMotion as well as cold and bulk migrations. Networking features include, High Throughput L2 Network Extension, WAN optimization, Traffic Engineering, Automated VPN with Strong Encryption (Suite B) and secured Data Center Interconnectivity with built-in hybrid abstraction and hybrid interconnects. HCX Advanced enables cloud on-boarding without retrofitting source infrastructure, supporting migration from vSphere 6.x+ to current versions without introducing application risk and complex migration assessments. See HCX Licensing Guide for details.
HCX Enterprise is an add-on license designed to deliver additional functionality. Building on HCX Advanced to deliver large-scale workload mobility and additional features including enhancements to HCX vMotion to allow for live bulk migration (Replication Assisted vMotion), migration of KVM and Hyper-V workloads to current vSphere versions (OS Assisted Migration), application discovery, migration planning and logical grouping (Mobility Groups), automated network management as VMs move (Mobility Optimized Networking) and more. See HCX Licensing Guide for details.
In a typical HCX deployment NSX is required on the destination site, meaning customers have to use NSX if they plan to use HCX. However, HCX network automation can help simplify the transition to NSX in a few ways. First HCX allows for stretching networks from vDS and Cisco switches on the source site and it also works when stretching from NSXv on source to NSX-T on the destination. The means HCX can facilitate transformation of not only non-VMware networks but also between NSXv and NSX-T. Second, HCX also includes the concept of network swing so networks can be easily transitioned once a migration is complete.
HCX provides the transport , WAN Opt, Secure VPN and L2 extensibility features to SRM. When SRM and HCX are used in conjunction, SRM can be used to set up DR groups, recovery plans etc. and in turn SRM calls HCX to use all the transport benefits. Customers get the best of both worlds by using SRM for DR orchestration and planning and HCX foroptimizing network and transport layers and keeping the same IP during failovers.
HCX works with VMware Cloud on AWS by allowing customers to select HCX provisioning on the VMC console. This will provision and install HCX on the VMC SDDC. Customers can then download the OVA on-premises and install HCX on their datacenter. Following this, customers can pair up their on-premises DC to the VMC SDDC and start moving workloads. The VMC SDDC side HCX deployment is completely automated. Customers can also use HCX for connect VMC SDDCs across two regions. This is useful for Cloud-2-Cloud based connectivity. Using this, customers can move workloads between SDDC instances as well as stretch networks across multiple SDDC instances.
Yes. VMware HCX has in-built SD-WAN that does WAN optimization at the transport level. The SD-WAN component provides compression and De-deduplication capabilities.
Yes. VMware HCX supports multisite interconnect. There are many use cases of multisite interconnect. If you have small DCs in Europe, and have under-utilized rented cages, and you want to consolidate them on VMware Cloud on AWS to reduce your TCO, HCX can help you do this without impacting the applications. Or as another example, if you want to keep private data on-premises, in say, California, and have two geo-separated cloud instances, one in Germany and one in Japan, you can extend your applications to such an architecture with VMware HCX.
During the initial installation, a single appliance is installed, which is the VMware HCX. It will install one or more of the following appliances as required by your use.
- Hybrid Interconnect Appliance: This gateway provides a secure hybrid interconnect to the remote site with intelligent routing to avoid networking “middle mile” problems.
- WAN Optimization Appliance: This appliance improves performance by utilizing WAN optimization techniques such as data de-duplication and line conditioning.
- Network Extension Service Appliance: This appliance extends L2 networks to the remote site. This enables moving VMs to the cloud without IP and MAC address changes. This service does not require the presence of NSX for vSphere.
vSphere 6.x+ versions are supported for live vMotion migrations. HCX vMotion live bulk migrations available as a tech preview on VMware cloud on AWS and can be licensed now through the HCX Enterprise add-on available on NSX DC Enterprise plus package.
HCX for Telco Cloud is a new version of the HCX mobility platform that has been extended to enable the dynamic management of network services for distributed telco operator environments. HCX TEC is a key component in the VMware Telco Cloud Automation offering.
HCX-TC works with Telco Cloud Manager within the Telco Cloud Automation package to enable large-scale multi-cloud placement and lifecycle management of network functions and service workloads. The core mobility features of the HCX platform and new purpose-built functionality combine to automate distribution, portability and management of network services from the network core to the edge and from private to public clouds.