VMware: Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) – Appliances

In my previous blog post, VMware: Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) – Introduction, I made a short introduction into HCX. That wasn’t easy since HCX has a lot of possibilities. If you haven’t had any experience with VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension, it could be difficult to understand what is needed to set it up. In this blog post below, I do want to provide an overview of what is needed.

VMware HCX consists of a virtual management appliance at source and destination. Once deployed, other required appliances, depending on the configuration, will be deployed. At the destination, a peer of those appliances will also be installed.

HCX Manager

Some kind of platform is needed to manage the HCX service. That is the main purpose of the HCX Manager. It is an appliance deployed next to each site’s vCenter Server. The appliance makes authentication via SSO identity sources possible, so every task is authorized.

Every HCX setup makes usage of a source and destination HCX Manager. The source is called the HCX Enterprise Manager, while the destination is called the HCX Cloud Manager.

  • When using public clouds in the architecture, the public cloud contains the HCX Cloud manager. It will be deployed by the cloud provider. On-premise, the HCX enterprise managers will be installed by the cloud tenant.
  • When not using public cloud services, both source and destination manager need to be deployed.

HCX Interconnect

The HCX Interconnect appliance makes the migration of virtual machines between sites possible. This can be done using replication or vMotion. Encryption is foreseen between the two sites, while the connection can be over the internet or a private line.

HCX WAN Optimization

When using a VPN or internet path, some improvements can be made. The HCX WAN Optimization appliance improves performance while applying some WAN optimization techniques like de-duplication and line conditioning.

HCX Network Extension

The HCX Network Extension service provides a Layer 2 extension capability. This can be usefully in a migration or DR scenario. It allows the Virtual Machines to keep their IP and MAC addresses. When proximity routing is being used, it ensures forwarding between virtual machines connected to extended and routed networks, both on-premises and in the cloud, is symmetrical.

Resources used by the appliances

Appliance vCPU Memory Disk
HCX Manager 4 12 GB 60 GB
HCX-WAN-IX (Interconnect) 8 3 GB 2 GB
HCX-NET-EXT (Network Extension) 8 3 GB 2 GB
HCX-WAN-OPT (Wan Optimization) 8 14 GB 100 GB / 5000 IOPS

In this short blog post, I hope to give you a clear view of all the appliances (in vSphere environments) used by HCX. By giving the requirements of each appliance and the functions it has in the HCX topology, I hope it is clear what is needed to use HCX. If you missed my previous blog post about the introduction of HCX, please visit VMware: Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) – Introduction.

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