Introducing VMware HCX technologies – A VMware Cloud Service for Cloud Migration, Application Mobility and Infrastructure Hybridity

At today’s VMworld® 2017 Europe keynote in Barcelona, CEO Pat Gelsinger introduced VMware HCX technologies while on stage with IBM. Here, we share our excitement about the announcement, and provide an overview of the offering.

The Opportunity
It is becoming increasingly clear that we’re headed towards a multi-cloud world where enterprises can take advantage of the best of private and public clouds, as they go through a digital transformation. Service Providers and Enterprise IT are actively looking at modernizing their data centers, adopting the cloud, and enabling modern application architectures, yet maintaining business continuity, with unified compliance, governance and control. But getting to this desired state is easier said than done.

The Challenges
There are formidable challenges that need to be overcome to get to the desired state. These include:

  • Incompatible vSphere-based environments – Customers have various VMware stacks and VMware vSphere® versions on-premises. They would like to move to the latest SDDC based cloud but differences in versions, networking architectures, server CPUs etc. make it hard to do so.
  • Network complexity to the cloud – Internet/WAN technologies are complex, non-automated, and inconsistent. Setting up and maintaining VPNs, firewalls, direct connects and routing across network/co-location provider networks, and enterprise networks is not easy, and there is a dearth of experienced personnel. There is tremendous room for improvement here.
  • Complex application dependencies – Enterprise applications are complex and they interact with various other entities in the datacenter such as storage/DB solutions, DMZ, security solutions and platform applications. Application dependencies are hard to assess a priori; how do you migrate apps without breaking such dependencies or causing downtime?
  • Governance and control – Over the years, enterprises have placed varying level of security and access control boundaries on applications. These security and governance policies have been blessed by Chief Information and Security Officers (CISOs) and have been vetted through extensive tests. As applications move to the cloud, it is critical that unified governance, compliance and control is maintained.
  • Introducing VMware HCX technologies – Overcoming the challenges
    VMware HCX’s technologies have been created to specifically overcome the above challenges, and to enable service providers and enterprise to get to the desired state quickly. Delivered as a VMware Cloud™ Service, and available through key partners IBM and OVH, the service enables secure, seamless interoperability and hybridity between any VMware vSphere®-based clouds, enabling large-scale migration to modern clouds/datacenters, and application mobility, with no application downtime. Built-in DR & security enables unified compliance, governance and control. Automated deployment makes it straightforward for service providers and enterprises to rapidly get to the desired state and shorten time to value.

    VMware HCX technologies – Service Model
    The following picture depicts key elements of the HCX service model.

    Numbers below refer to the respective numbers in the diagram above.

    1. Existing vSphere-based environment – Any existing vSphere environment (version 5 and up), whether this be an enterprise on-premises environment, or a managed service provider environment, can leverage the HCX service to migrate to the desired cloud or modern data center.

    2. Modern DC / Cloud – Today, we have IBM and OVH realizing modern cloud architectures, built leveraging VMware Cloud Foundation. HCX services can now be leveraged to enable infrastructure hybridity between on-premises and cloud, and to migrate and mobilize existing applications to the cloud.

    3. VMware HCX technologies – Today, we announce Initial Availability of VMware HCX technologies, available to our key partners IBM and OVH. The service will be integrated into the respective Cloud Provider portals, and provides the following features:

  • Multi-site multi-version interoperability between legacy vSphere (vSphere 5.x) and modern VMware Cloud Foundation or SDDC environments.
  • Automated deployment, instantiation, monitoring and management of HCX client on source and destination stacks.
  • Ongoing updates to the service, as VMware SDDC stack technologies evolve over time.
  • 4. Infrastructure Hybridity – HCX creates a secure, high performance and highly reliable interconnect fabric between disparate vSphere environments, enabling loose coupling of multiple sites. Following are some of the key features:

  • Network extension of L2 networks between on-premises and cloud.
  • No need to re-IP and re-factor workloads – inbuilt layer 2 extensions let customers keep the same networks, IP and routing policies in place while moving workloads.
  • WAN optimization and highly efficient connectivity.
  • Secure, suite B AES 256 encryption based connectivity.
  • Intelligent traffic engineering, and load balancing between public and private links.
  • Application aware traffic engineering and control. Fair distribution of traffic based on load.
  • Automated proxy of vSphere Replication, vMotion® and SDDC stack protocols across iWAN.
  • 5. Application migration and mobility at scale without downtime – HCX provides the following application mobility capabilities to customers:

  • Bulk migration based on secure replication enables migration of VMs on a large scale with minimal downtime.
  • Secure Live vMotion – HCX proxies vMotion, resulting in a secure, zero downtime live migration to the cloud, over the HCX interconnect fabric described above.
  • Any-to-Any mobility – Secure vMotion and bulk migrations can be achieved between legacy vSphere 5.x infrastructure, and next gen VCF based SDDC infrastructure.
  • Hybrid Application landscapes – The architecture allows critical resources to remain on-premises e.g. databases or storage. Also, the architecture allows for a hybrid DMZ where enterprises can bring their own appliances to the cloud e.g. firewalls or load balancers.
  • Built-in business continuity – HCX also provides DRaaS to enable business continuity while migrating/moving applications. Customers can define 5-minute RPO/RTO for VMs. Most importantly, HCX tackles all aspects of application uptime, including reachability, security, IPAM and connectivity policies.
  • Summary – VMware HCX technologies is ready to accelerate your cloud / application strategy
    Much like server virtualization, vMotion, and VMware NSX® technologies changed the physics of infrastructure, HCX promises to be a true game changer accelerating the adoption of modern data center architectures, and enabling application landscape mobility at an unprecedented scale. Service Providers and enterprises can now re-think the way they deploy, consolidate and migrate their data centers and adopt cloud architectures. Also, application architectures can evolve to flexibly span on-premises and multiple clouds, driven by the needs and priorities of business.

    Looking forward to working with you as you embark on this hybrid cloud journey!

    For more information visit cloud.vmware.com/vmware-hcx

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