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Understanding VMware HCX deployment for VMware cloud on AWS Part -1

Hello Everyone, in my previous posts I have already written about HCX and how do we configure it specially with VMware Cloud on AWS . Here are the links for those 2 blog posts.

HCX Part -1

HCX Part - 2

In this blog series we will understand the the deployment in details and will go through the newly introduced Service Mesh option. VMware has recently released an update to HCX and that has introduced a very interesting option and interface for users which is called Service Mesh. in this blog we are going to talk about what is service mesh, how to deploy and configure it and what advantages are there of service mesh. and as you all know like all my blogs this blog will also be based on VMware Cloud on AWS, so let's get started :) ...

HCX has already become a popular tool for cloud migrations and the beauty of this product is that it's a Multi Cloud App Mobility And Infrastructure Hybridity Across Any vSphere. it delivers secure and seamless app mobility and infrastructure hybridity across vSphere 5.0+ versions, on-premises and in the cloud.

Some of the key capabilities are :

# You can transform your data center with secure, seamless app mobility between vSphere 5.0+ on-premises and the cloud without

upgrading your vSphere version. Enable zero-downtime "live" migrations and scheduled low-downtime, large-scale migrations.

Multiple VM migration models (including vMotion, live, warm, cold) make it easy.

# VMware HCX enables seamless and secure cloud on-boarding. Thanks to features such as secure proxy for vMotion; secure network

extension; and high-throughput, WAN-optimized, load-balanced multisite by directional interconnects.

# In the event of a disaster, VMware HCX recovers the networking layer. Traffic routes are maintained as before the disaster, resulting

in high-speed disaster recovery with low downtime. HCX can also be used for avoiding Disasters. VMs can be migrated out of SDDC

of disaster zone to a safe location when disaster warning is received.

Here is an overview of HCX and how it connects the on prem and VMware cloud on AWS SDDC Environments.

We have already discussed about these components in my previous blog HCX Part -1 , Lets do a recap here as well.

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 data-center. 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. L2 Extension.

As we discussed above the first point to start with HCX is by deploying the HCX manager, but why ? Lets understand.

1) HCX Manager will register itself with vCenter and then we will get the HCX plugin listed for further operations.

2) HCX Manager will be used for activating HCX using activation key.

3) HCX Manager will establish the site pairing. hence after deploying the HCX manager and registering it to the vCenter we should use the hcx plugin for site


4) HCX Manager has the Bit to deploy Interconnect appliance, Wan opt and L2C Appliance, hence after deploying the HCX manager and registering it to the

vCenter we should use the add on for the deployment of these.

Lets Begin with the HCX add-on deployment on VMware cloud on AWS side.

Login to the SDDC > open SDDC > Click on Add ons > click open HCX and finally click on Deploy hcx on the sddc, this will initiate the flow of deploying HCX manager on cloud side

This will Deploy HCX Manager on the cloud SDDC . ("Deploy HCX " will only deploy the HCX Manager component at cloud side) once this is deployed you will be able to see HCX Manager VM on the cloud side vCenter.

HCX manager has picked up an IP from the management ip range for communicating with the management components. and also a DNS Name (This DNS Name will be used while doing the site pair at onprem side we can keep a note of this).

and if we try to ping this DNS name we could see it is getting resolved to a public IP .. Yes ! a public IP is assigned to HCX manager however it will be VIA NAT to the private IP of HCX Manager.

Now the question is from where this public IP coming from in SDDC ? so while deploying HCX on cloud side the workflow also requests for 3 new public IPs in the SDDC console and one of these public IPs are being used for HCX manager (other two IPs will be used if we will deploy IX appliance and L2C appliance and want to connect them VIA internet not direct connect).

To check these public IPs go to the SDDC and click on networking and security tab and select public IP section you will see 3 IPs with Notes as HCX, HCX-Fleet-1, HCX-Fleet-2. You can verify in the below screenshot that the cloud side HCX Manager of my environment has taken the IP which says HCX in Notes.

Alright so now we have the insight of how and what was configured on cloud side when we do HCX Deployment. Let's deploy the Onprem side HCX Manager.

To get the HCX Manager OVA we will have to click on "Open HCX" option on add-on section, which will open the cloud side HCX manager page (the fqdn of this page is same as the dns name of the cloud side hcx appliance)

It 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".

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.

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.

Once the OVA is downloaded, next we will deploy this OVA. Let's continue the on-prem side deployment in next blog "Understanding VMware HCX deployment for VMware cloud on AWS Part -2"

#hcx #vmconaws #VMwarecloudonAWS #servicemesh