Workload Migration to VMware Cloud Foundation using VMware HCX – Part 1

Workload migration to VMware Cloud Foundation is discussed on nearly every engagement that I have been working on in the last couple of years in my role as Sr. Consultant at VMware. There are several ways to do this, but in my opinion the most versatile way is to use VMware HCX. Have a look at the “Workload Migration Strategies with VMware Cloud Foundation” white paper written by my colleagues Heath Johnson and John Nicholson which explains the concepts very well.

In this multi-part blog series, I will show you how to deploy VMware HCX, configure it, and how you can move the VM’s from your old environment to VCF using different methods. This exercise is based on the following example environment.

As you can see, this is a typical vSphere environment. On the left, there is the “old” or “source” site running vSphere 6.5 with a production VLAN on a Distributed Virtual Switch. On the right, there is the “new” or “destination” environment with VMware Cloud Foundation configured with a NSX-V Workload Domain.

General Prerequisites

  • Read the VMware HCX documentation.
  • Read the VMware HCX release notes.
  • Verify that the DNS records (forward & reverse) are configured for both HCX Manager appliances (Enterprise and Cloud).
  • HCX Manger VM requires internet access to http://connect.hcx.vmware.com and https://hybridity-depot.vmware.com which can be direct access of via a proxy server.
  • A set of free IP addresses is required for the HCX appliances for the Management, vMotion, Uplink, and vSphere replication (if used) networks.

NSX Requirements

  • NSX (V or T) is mandatory on the (destination) Cloud deployment. See the documentation for specific versions in the current HCX release.
  • NSX is optional on the (source) Enterprise site.

HCX Port and Protocol Requirements

HCX Licensing

  • HCX Advanced is packaged into NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus, VMware Cloud on AWS, VCF Enterprise and for VMware Cloud Provider Partners.
  • HCX Enterprise licenses are available for purchase to NSX Enterprise Plus customers. Access to the HCX Enterprise services requires an additional license.
  • VMware HCX feature comparison:
    • Advances features:
      • Interconnect
      • WAN Optimization
      • Network Extension
      • Bulk Migration
      • vMotion Migration
      • Disaster Recovery
    • Enterprise License:
      • OS Assisted Migration (OSAM)
      • Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV)
      • Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Integration
      • Mobility Groups

Deploy HCX Cloud (Destination)

The first step is to deploy and configure the HCX Manager on the Cloud or destination site. In this case this is the VMware Cloud Foundation environment.

  1. Log in to the vCenter Server that will be your destination (or cloud) environment and login with the administrator account.
  2. Deploy the HCX OVA file downloaded from My VMware as you would normally do.
  3. On the Select Networks page, it is recommended to use the Management Network for the HCX Manager.
  4. On the Customize Template page, the Static Routes are optional. All other settings are mandatory and should be filled in.
  5. Review the settings and click Finish to deploy the HCX appliance.
  6. Power on the VM once it is deployed.
  7. Open your browser and navigate to https://<IP_or_FQDN_HCX_Manager>:9443. You should be presented with the HCX Manager login page. Login with the Admin account set up during the OVA deploy.
  8. On the Configure your HCX System page, click Continue.
  9. Enter your HCX Advanced key. Optionally, configure a proxy server if the HCX Manager doesn’t have direct connection to the Internet. Click Activate.
  10. Add your HCX Enterprise Upgrade Key if you have one or click Add Later to continue.
  11. At this point HCX Manager will download and upgrade the instance. Depending on your internet connection, this may take some time.
  12. Once completed, enter physical location of your datacenter and click Continue.
  13. Accept or change the System Name. Note the addition of the “-cloud”.
  14. Select the HCX Instance type. In my case, I’ve selected vSphere as I am running VCF.
  15. Next, enter the IP or FQDN of your vCenter Server and NSX Manager for the Workload Domain in your VCF environment that you want this HCX Manager instance to connect to. This may also be your Management Workload Domain.
  16. Enter your SSO/PSC Identify Source. In your VCF deployment this are the external PSC’s.
  17. Provide the Public Access URL for this HCX Manager instance.
  18. Review the system configuration and click Restart for the configuration settings to take effect.
  19. Once completed, you will be redirected to the HCX Manager dashboard.
  20. Go to Administration tab and if applicable, configure the syslog server, proxy (incl. proxy exclusions: vCenter Server & PSC’s, ESXi Hosts Management network, NSX Manager, and HCX Interconnect appliances network.), static routes, and backup for this HCX Manager.
  21. Finally, go to the Configuration tab and assign the Enterprise Administrator role to a user group. Note that you can only add groups here.
  22. Log out.
  23. Next, you need to download the HCX Manager OVA for the Enterprise (Source) site. To do this, navigate to http://<IP_FQDN_HCX_Manager>, log in as administrator@vsphere.local and go to the System Updates tab under Administration. Notice the different UI. This view is also called the “hybridity” view.
  24. Click Request Download Link.
  25. Download the OVA file or use the Copy Link button to download the OVA on a different machine with internet access.
  26. Log out.

This concludes the Cloud (Destination) part of the VMware HCX Manager deployment.

Deploy HCX Enterprise (Source)

The next step in the VMware HCX configuration is deployment of the HCX Manager on the Enterprise site. Also called the Source site.

  1. Deploy the OVA on the Enterprise (Source) site as you would normally do. The steps are the same as on the destination site.
  2. On the Select Networks page, it is recommended to use the Management Network for the HCX Manager.
  3. On the Customize Template page, the Static Routes are optional. All other settings are mandatory and should be filled in.
  4. Review the settings and click Finish to deploy the HCX appliance.
  5. Power on the VM once it is deployed.
  6. Open your browser and navigate to https://<IP_or_FQDN_HCX_Manager>:9443. You should be presented with the HCX Manager login page. Login with the Admin account and go through the configuration steps of the HCX Manager as you did on the Cloud part.
  7. Note that during the connection to your vCenter Server, connection to the NSX Manager is optional on the Enterprise site as NSX is not required on the Source site.
  8. Review the system configuration and click Restart for the configuration settings to take effect. Once completed, you will be redirected to the HCX Manager dashboard. Notice that the HCX Manager type is marked as Enterprise in the top right of the screen under the version and build number.
  9. Go to Administration tab and if applicable, configure the syslog server, proxy (incl. proxy exclusions: vCenter Server & PSC’s, ESXi Hosts Management network, NSX Manager, and HCX Interconnect appliances network.), static routes, and backup for this HCX Manager.
  10. Finally, go to the Configuration tab and assign the Enterprise Administrator role to a user group. Again, note that you can only add groups here.
  11. Log out.
  12. Open the Hybridity UI and check out the differences in the HCX Manager UI.

This concludes part 1 of the Workload Migration to VMware Cloud Foundation using VMware HCX. In the next part, we will create site pair, network and compute profiles, and a service mesh.

Cheers!

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