Getting the HCX Installer the Right Way!

So … how do I get HCX, the right way?

VMware HCX is a bit of a hybrid between VMware Products and Services… and thus is delivered a bit differently than traditional VMware Products or purely SaaS services.

Because HCX integrates with legacy vSphere environments, with modern VMware Cloud Foundation environments, with DYI-private cloud and with HCX-enabled public clouds and hyperscalers, the actual mechanism for download can vary slightly depending on the architecture.

Worry not! I will cover the most common scenarios below. If your specific scenario is not mentioned, drop me a note in the comments.

Scenario 1 – Obtaining HCX to Connect Onpremises vSphere with a Public Cloud Service or Hyperscaler.

When working with public clouds or hyperscaler providers (think Azure VMware Service, Google Cloud VMware Engine, IBM Cloud, OVH, VMware Cloud on AWS), the cloud provider has either pre-installed and configured an HCX Cloud Manager with your cloud instance, or they provide you a portal operation to enable HCX in each instance. In this scenario, the cloud side HCX is installer on your behalf. You still need to download and install the HCX Connector on-prem. An HCX Connector is a type of HCX Manager that connects to your on-premise vSphere environment.

Some things to know:

– The public cloud provider will supply your HCX Connector activation keys.

– You want the HCX Connector to be compatible with your existing HCX Cloud. The best way to ensure compatibility is by downloading directly from that existing HCX Cloud Manager.

– When the HCX Cloud is upgraded, the “Request Download Link” operation will provide the most compatible build.

HCX Connector allows legacy vSphere environments to be registered and can work without NSX. The HCX Connector is always a source and can only be paired with an HCX Cloud Manager system.

Using HCX Cloud to obtain the HCX Connector OVA download.

Scenario 2 – Obtaining HCX for Private Deployments

When HCX will be used between two or more private vSphere environments. The HCX Cloud Manager will be obtained first. The HCX Cloud Manager will be installed in your “destination” environment (the environment where you will migrate your VMs to).

Some things to know:

– This installer is a bit different from traditional OVAs in that it upgrades itself to the latest and greatest HCX release at the end of the installation process.

– A private installation of HCX Cloud needs to be licensed for the core ‘HCX Advanced‘ features using NSX Datacenter Enterprise + keys. When trial/eval licenses are used, HCX will allow up to 10 migrations of each type.

– Once the HCX Cloud Manager is installed and configured. The HCX Connector can be obtained identically to Scenario 1. Using the Client Download link.

– The HCX Connector OVA is used to install HCX at the source environment (containing the virtual machines that will be migrated, and networks that will be extended). It is licensed using the same NSX license used during the HCX Cloud Manager install.

HCX Connector allows legacy vSphere environments to be registered and can work without NSX. The HCX Connector is always a source and can only be paired with an HCX Cloud Manager system.

– It is actually possible to use HCX Cloud Manager OVA as a source (this is how cloud to cloud deployments are possible) but doing this changes two things:
— vSphere must be version 6.5 or above (HCX Cloud Manager does not support legacy vSphere).
— NSX becomes mandatory
— The source site must be uniquely licensed.

SCENARIO 3 – Large Scale Provider Deploying HCX Cloud Frequently (API generated download link)

For large scale HCX users or providers that continuously deploy HCX Cloud systems, it is not practical to use the myvmware HCX Cloud OVA.

It is not efficient to deploy the Cloud OVA file from and then require an additional upgrade during each Cloud install. Also, while it is technically possible to obtain a point-in-time HCX Cloud Manager OVA from the VMware team that will circumvent the install/upgrade step, it adds some overhead in that OVAs need to be exchanged between VMware and the user/provider, and creates a scenario where the provided HCX OVAs age over time.

The approach below allows large scale users and providers to download current OVAs without requiring them to be upgraded during the installation. Users or providers with the appropriate level of authorization can use the central HCX server
( to download the latest HCX OVAs. Use the following APIs to obtain current HCX Cloud Manager OVAs:

Login to the VMware HCX service

  • Authenticate this request using your myvmware credentials.
  • Use any base64 encoder for the password.
Request Header:
Content-Type: application/json
Accept: application/json
Request Body,
    "authType": "myvmware",
    "username": "{{my_vmware_username}}",
    "password": "{{my_vmware_base_64_encoded_password}}"
Response Headers,
x-hm-authorization →38ac920b:f0ae:4464:90f5:8df17853d5c5 (example)
auth_token_name →x-hm-authorization
Success Response,
    "success": true,
    "completed": true,
    "time": 1563445121455,
    "version": "1.0",
    "data": {}
Generate the HCX Cloud Download Link

Once you get the authorization token after login, Use the below apis to generate the link.
Get OVA Download Link API 

(This API can be called by My VMware User/Service Provider User/System Administrator):


Request Header:
Content-Type: application/json
Accept: application/jsonx-hm-authorization: 38ac920b:f0ae:4464:90f5:8df17853d5c5 (example, use result based token) 

Example Success Response
    "downloadUrl": "",
    "validThrough": "2019-07-28T10:19:30.000Z",
    "bundleVersion": "",
    "metadata": {
        "bundleFileSize": "2414110720",
        "bundleFileSha256sum": "ff6bf6048fe362dd444fbd5641bf04bf23c1cafb3e48805e95d75c7ea519a822",
        "bundleFileMd5sum": "16a9e8cf89bcacc948635f8b7da03ca8"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s