What’s New in VMware HCX 4.5

Before We Start – A Baseline

I have this presupposition that I’m writing to an audience that has a solid foot in the VMware HCX world, that wants to go deeper, or is otherwise interested in what we are building. If this is you, please skip ahead to the next section.

If this doesn’t describe you, please read on. Here’s a pictorial summary of what HCX is, and where it fits:

VMware HCX (named circa 2017) technologies for application mobility have existed at VMware for the better part of a decade, under different names and businesses at VMware.

While some other VMware products can move a virtual machine, they have different primary objectives. HCX is primarily concerned with solving workload mobility problems and provides innovation in this specific space.

Global enterprises and institutions have successfully migrated hundreds of thousands of virtual machines within their data centers and into the public cloud. HCX enables cloud consumption by providing reliable live application mobility for many use cases, and provides the workload connectivity technologies required to unshackle the workloads from aging infrastructure while minimizing investments in those sites that will ultimately be evacuated.

If what I’m saying sounds new to you, I recommend bookmarking (or subscribing) to this blog and starting with the following resources:

vmware.com/products/hcx (Overviews, datasheets, FAQs)
hcx.vmware.com (Explore HCX in the Networking & Security techzone).

What’s New

HCX 4.5 is our mid-October release (pardon the delay in getting my communiqué out). There are new exciting capabilities and improvements.

Cross-Product and Cloud Readiness

This HCX release is a milestone in cross-product readiness (vSphere ☑️ VSAN ☑️ NSX ☑️ VMware Cloud ☑️).

The VMware community is buzzing about vSphere 8 and NSX 4 with the Distributed Services Engine and DPU-based acceleration. Migrations to VMware Cloud on AWS’s SDDC 1.20 which runs on vSphere 8.0 is possible with HCX 4.5.

In short – HCX is ready to help users migrate to VMware-*-latest.

vSphere 8 Initial Availability announcement
DPU-based acceleration for NSX: Overview
DPU-based acceleration for NSX: Deepdive
What’s New in VMware Cloud on AWS at VMware Explore 2022

HCX Workload Migration for Single vCenter NSX V2T

NSX 4.01.1 expands Migration Coordinator Lift and Shift with “Configuration + Edge Mode”. This mode allows migrating both configuration and edge and establishes a performance optimized distributed bridge between the NSX-V source environment and the “NSX destination environment” (NSX-T) to maintain connectivity during the lift and shift.

HCX Workload Migration for NSX V2T integrates with NSX Migration Coordinator to seamlessly migrate virtual machines and correctly maintain their security state.

This new migration option eliminates the need to run multiple complicated APIs during a V2T lift-and-shift. HCX mobility groups in V2T mode

Enabling V2T in the HCX Deployment
Launching V2T Migrations

HCX 4.5 Seed Checkpoint for Replication Assisted vMotion

In the past, replication-based migrations, like Bulk migration and Replication Assisted vMotions automatically (on failure) executed a cleanup process which lead to a total loss of replicated data. The rationale for this full cleanup was to enable “next-attempts” after resolving the failure conditions. Unfortunately – this also means losing all migration progress.  For larger virtual machine profiles, this may mean the loss of many days of disk replication progress. 

Seed Checkpoint provides recoverable migration progress. An option for retaining replica disks at the target datastore if a migration is failed or cancelled.  Seed checkpoints enable HCX to reuse the disks on the target for seeding migration replication data, avoiding the need to re-transfer all the data from scratch. 

This capability was introduced for Bulk Migrations in HCX 4.1

Mobility Optimized Networking 4.5

Applications with multiple network interfaces can leverage east-west MON routing optimization, multiple IPs are displayed in the MON interface.

Things to know:

  • Mobility Optimized Networking now displays every IP address on the extended subnet. e.g . Link-local 169.254/16 assigments would not be displayed. 
  • The virtual machine will appear as a member in every MON enabled network.
  • Target Router Location change to Multi-vNIC VM always applies to every VM vNIC.

Increased Product Maximums and Platform Improvements

Migration Maximums

The maximum supported concurrent replication-based migration operations per HCX Manager have increased to 300 in HCX 4.5.

View in configmax

Mobility Optimized Networking Maximums

Several Mobility Optimized Networking operational maximums are increased in 4.5.

  • Total VMs with MON enabled at any given time.
  • Concurrent MON-enabled emigrations.
  • Concurrent Target Router Location Changes

    View in configmax

Network Inventory Cache Enhancement

HCX 4.5 improves the user experience when working with large network inventories. Response time reduction when loading Virtual Machine networks during HCX Migration, Network Extension and Network Profile Configuration.

Some Closing Thoughts

Our two previous minor releases included massive scale platform changes. In HCX 4.3 we worked difficult database changes related to our previous DB component’s adoption of SSPL license. With HCX 4.4 we adopted VMware Photon OS secure kernel and were able to release an offering suitable for FedRamp High controls with VMware Cloud on AWS Govcloud. I’m happy to report the lack of changes of this class.

I can confidently report stability on the rise after those two major platform overhauls.

The HCX 4.5 release lands squarely between the VMware Explore events, one of our busiest times of the year – but we are able to deliver interoperability strong cross-product compatibility.

About vSphere 6.5 & 6.7 End of Support

These versions of vSphere are now in their Technical Guidance phase – the time to migrate is now! VMware HCX 4.5 should be used. See VMware KB 82702.

About HCX 4.3 End Of Support

About 32% of installations in the wild are running HCX 4.3 (4.3.1 – 4.3.3). Heads up on End of Support, for these systems it arrives at the end of this year. There is no Technical Guidance phase for HCX.

About VMware Explore EMEA 2022 in Barcelona

I’ll be there hosting the HCX Meet The Expert sessions. Look me up in the catalog!

  • Meet The Expert: HCX [NETM4062EUR]
  • Zero-to-Hero: HCX and Your Migration Journey [NETB4070EUR]

🖖🏼🙂 Hope to see some of you there!

🍂 Happy fall season from me & mine to you & yours.

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