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Deploy and configure HCX for VMware Cloud on AWS Part -1

Hybrid Cloud extension has already become a popular solution for Cloud migrations, this great tool is available as an add on with VMware cloud on AWS for on-prem to cloud migration or vice-versa. The beauty of the tool is, it makes migration a very seamless experience. As of today HCX is a free option available with VMware cloud on AWS subscription.

In this blog post I want to specifically talk about how to configure HCX for VMware Cloud on AWS, however before starting with the implementation, let's Plan our HCX deployment and understand the components and prerequisites.

1- HCX Manager (or HCX Enterprize Manager) : HCX Manager is the central command center appliance through which we begin our HCX deployment Journey, this is available as an OVA and gets registered with our vCenter and installs a plugin for performing installation of HCX components and other VM migration tasks.

2- HCX Interconnect service : HCX Interconnect service provides resilient access over the Internet and private lines to the target site while providing strong encryption, traffic engineering and extending the datacenter. This services simplifies secure pairing of sites and management of HCX components.

3- WAN Optimization Service (Optional) : Improves performance characteristics of the private lines or Internet paths by leveraging WAN Optimization techniques like data de-duplication and line conditioning. This makes performance closer to a LAN environment.

4- Network Extension Service: High throughput Network Extension service with integrated Proximity Routing which unlocks seamless mobility and simple disaster recovery plans across sites.

There are a number of ports required to be opened for HCX on-prem deployment, if we talk about the deployment at VMware on AWS side it is just a matter of a click.

as a prerequisite lets first open all these ports for different on-prem side components so that they can talk to each other.

Above picture is Taken from : https://hcx.design/2018/06/22/vmware-hcx-network-ports/

Once we are done with all these ports which is mentioned in origin site we are good to start with the deployment.

Let's Begin with the Cloud Side deployment

1) Login to vmc.vmware.com and open the SDDC we want to connect to onprem HCX.

2) Click on add-on tab

3) click on "Open Hybrid Cloud extension"

4) This will open a New HCX Page, Click on SDDCs and Click on "DEPLOY HCX" link on the desired SDDC Badge

5) This will take 15-20 Minutes and we are done with the cloud part of the HCX Deployment :-)

On-prem HCX Deployment :

6) After the cloud side deployment gets finished we start our on-prem HCX deployment Journey from the same page

where we clicked "Deploy HCX" in the last step. We will see that "Deploy HCX" link is not there and we have got 2

New options after deployment, "Open HCX" and "Undeploy HCX". (On the same page we will see an option called as

"Activation Keys" click on that and create a new activation key for HCX Enterprise and make a note of it we will use it later during on-

prem activation)

7) For getting the HCX Manager OVA we will have to click on "Open HCX", which will open the HCX manager page

for the cloud side of HCX and will prompt for the Username and password, we can use the same credentials which

we use for login to the VMC vCenter "cloudadmin@vmc.local".

8) We will now see a nice dashboard of HCX Cloud with overview and other badges, We will see a section in

dashboard which says Hybrid Connectivity and there we will find the link for Downloading the HCX Enterprise

Client.

9) By Clicking on this link it will take us to the administration page and we will find a Request download link option

there, once we click on that it will display the download link or copy link option for downloading on-prem HCX

Manager OVA.

10) Once the OVA is downloaded, next we will have to deploy this OVA, which is very straight forward ova

deployment in the network section we just need to make sure we are selecting a network which has connectivity as

per the first network port diagram we discussed (in most cases a management network with all the required ports

opened.

11) After the deployment its time for the activation and registration process, we can open the HCX manager page by

providing its FQDN or IP on port 9443, using admin as user and the password we supplied during the OVA

deployment. which will directly give us the page for the registration where we will find the url mentioned for

activation as "https://connect.hcx.vmware.com" and its asking for the activation key, paste the activation key and

click on Continue.

12) Next we will be prompted to select the city and location of the on-prem HCX manager. select and click yes and

continue and the activation will get completed

13) Next screen is the registration with on-prem vCenter (vCenter fqdn, admin username and password)

14) if NSX registration is required (For extending the vxlan networks) select connect our nsx and enter the username

and password for nsx manager click continue.

15) Enter the SSO username and password and Click Continue.

16) To get everything correct and in working condition click on Restart HCX service (it takes 5 minutes to reinitialize

the hcx)

17) We may have to keep refreshing the page and once everything is up and running, we will see the dashboard with all

the updated information.

Once everything is up and running like in the above screen shot immidiately we can add some users to manage the HCX components by clicking on configuration and selecting "vSphere Role Mapping" option. through the configuration page we can verify and change other registrations like vCenter or NSX as well.

Next we can verify the HCX plugin and its functionality by logging in to the on-prem vSphere web Client.

On the Right hand side Click on new Site Pairing and You will be asked to provide Site URL, which is the URL of your HCX Manager Cloud Instance (e.g. https://[HCX-Manager-Cloud-Instance-IP]) and the cloudadmin@vmc.local username and credential. Click Register.

Great ! so we have successfully installed and configured the HCX on the on-prem side and connected it successfully to the cloud (VMware Cloud on AWS), in the next blog we will try to understand the Interconnect service, Service Components and different type of migrations.

Next - Deploy and configure HCX for VMware Cloud on AWS Part -2