What’s New in HCX 4.4

HCX 4.4 is available globally! In this update we introduce Transport Analytics, modernized our HBR engine, moved to Photon OS with VMware’s secure kernel and made multiple other improvements.

Brownfield sites will reflect a ⚠ Software Update message. Installations running HCX 4.1 through 4.3 can be directly upgraded to 4.4.
Product Interop Matrix – Upgrade Path

New private cloud deployments can use the 4.4 binaries from customer connect.

HCX 4.4 Resources:
Release Announcement | User Guide | Release Notes | Configmax

What is HCX?

If you happen to be completely new to VMware HCX, here’s the 30 second skinny:
HCX is VMware’s dedicated virtual machine and network mobility platform. It is a Swiss army knife of migration technology, built for migration work at scale. HCX shines in the multi-cloud space where every layer of differentiation results in a blend of similar interfaces and the provider’s unique interfaces. The HCX layer is a consistent experience across the SDDC platform. HCX accelerates consumption of these next-gen investments.
Here are some additional resources:
vmware.com/products/hcx | hcx.vmware.com | hcx 4-day bootcamp

What’s New

Transport Analytics

Transport Analytics has been a long time coming, in the early phases an initiative we internally refer to as Network Underlay Characterization, we officially add for VPN/SD-WAN and generally any underlay so long as it met the minimum underlay requirements (which we published around the same time). We also published detailed migration outcomes guidance based on network underlay characteristics. This tech paper guides the HCX admin through an exercise in “characterizing” their network underlay into elements like bandwidth, latency and packet loss, which could then be interpreted into ball park outcomes.

Transport Analytics simplifies the data collection into a speedtest-like operation and reduces interpretation/guesswork, it provides clear information about how the HCX Transport (the dataplane layer) is expected to perform given an specific network underlay that it is using.
The results are true-path results testing the exact path that HCX services use. By comparison, the CCLI Perftest command data tests simulate the path using TCP.

Transport Analytics in the Navigator

The Transport Analytics information is organized into Service Mesh > Services & Uplinks.

Once an on-demand test (Test Service Mesh Uplinks) is kicked off – results will quickly indicate when any of the measured network characteristics fall below the minimum required thresholds and even provide migration insights based on the measurements (for example, how many parallel replications can be configured on the measured service mesh).

On-demand uplink results

The Transport Monitor provides real-time and time-series throughput, latency and drop information.

Network Extension HA

Network Extension HA feature has been moved out of EA and is now generally available! HA allows HCX user friendly L2 Extension experience to operate in redundant cross-site HA groups. I described this capability earlier in the year, here.

Mobility Optimized Networking with Active/Standby FHRP Configurations

Mobility Optimized Networking was enhanced to be able to quickly respond to source site First Hop Redundancy Protocol activity (namely HSRP/VRRP in active standby configurations).

HCX on Photon OS

This is major change that is not immediately visible , but does improve the overall security posture of HCX deployments. Running HCX on a common VMware platform allows us to benefit from the excellent efforts of our Photon platform colleagues. This collaboration accelerates the time to close security vulnerabilities and allows us to focus on delivering technology for workload mobility and cloud adoption.

HCX Host-Based Replication 8.4

The update to HBR 8.4 is our own modernization effort, gaining years of fixes and optimizations in the replication space. This directly improves HCX Bulk, RAV and HCX DR operations and provides a foundation for future enhancements (e.g vm encryption, vNVME migrations, re-protect optimization).

To Summarize

Six months into stabilization-mode for HCX 4.3 (which included a difficult transition to PostgreSQL) HCX 4.4 represents an enormous release, modernizing various core aspects of our platform and bringing data-based mobility planning to the next phase with Transport Analytics. We are excited for our innovators and early adopters to kick the tires on our newly released capabilities.

There’s much more in this release than what I covered here. Check out the beefy release note & announcement blog.

🖖🏼 Live long and prosper
🦁 Hakuna Matata


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