Migrating to VMware Cloud
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Written by Girish Raja

September 14, 2021

As we discussed earlier, Cloud Migration is an important aspect while adopting Public Cloud Infrastructure and it is this area where organizations put in lots of effort to mitigate the risk and reduce the disruptions caused to the business.

VMware Cloud Service offers HCX (Hybrid Cloud Extension) as a part of the service which helps customers to re-host their workloads to the cloud and help them land on the cloud without the need for format conversion. This minimizes the risk that customers are seeing while migrating to the cloud.

Moreover, VMware HCX also assists organizations to bulk migrate workloads together and reduce the time taken to reach there.

Migrating to VMware Cloud

Some of the features of HCX that make cloud migration simpler and faster :

  1. HCX helps organizations to extend their networks to Cloud with the built-in VPN capabilities along with Suite-B encryption.

  2. Acts as a WAN Optimizer , Deduplication & Compression Engine to efficiently use the bandwidth between cloud and on-premises environments and also lowers the data-out charges by Hyperscaler Providers.
  3. Interoperable with vSphere 5.x and above deployed on-premises.
  4. Supports Cold Migration, vMotion, Bulk Migration of workloads to Cloud.

HCX Migration Types

HCX supports multiple migration options to the VMware Cloud. Let’s explore them one by one :-

Cold Migration:

As the name suggests, this migration is about bringing the workload down and shifting them to the cloud. The entire migration happens with the application shutdown till it is brought up on the other site.

vMotion:

vMotion is the online migration of the virtual machine from one data center to another. Here there is no downtime involved and the entire workload is accessible to the users while the migration is being performed behind the screens.

Since HCX can provide with the Network Extension capability there is no need for changing the IP Address of the workload and the proximity routing ensures once the virtual machine is brought to the other side / Cloud it starts communicating with the gateway that is deployed in the Cloud and need not come back to the data center. All the concurrent vSphere operations limits are applicable as it is.

Bulk Migration:

Bulk Migration is another migration option available with HCX. As opposed to vMotion where each virtual machine must be selected and migrated, Bulk Migration allows a group of workloads to lift and shift to the cloud. There is no disruption to the application while the replication is in progress, but a small, planned downtime must be taken to cut over the workload to the cloud.

HCX allows customers to configure mobility groups and group workloads into them based on the migration planning. The current maximum limit of virtual machines in a single mobility group is 100. Each group of migration is considered as a wave and those can be planned based on the criticality/priority of the workloads to be migrated to the cloud.

Replicated Assisted vMotion:

Replicated Assisted vMotion is a combination of vMotion and Bulk Migration together. This ensures that the workloads are migrated faster and safer to the cloud without any conversion or disruption to workloads. Also, it allows customers to group application workloads together and migrate them in bulk.

Replicated Assisted vMotion can also be used as a disaster avoidance feature to migrate the workloads off to cloud / another Datacenter in case of any eventualities predicted. Once migrate the proximity routing feature of HCX will enable the workloads to route the traffic via the gateway available on the cloud infrastructure.

OS Assisted Migration:

The previous migrations were all for the workloads that were running on VMware Environment. Is there a solution that can migrate workloads running on Physical or other hypervisors to be migrated to Cloud? The answer is Yes…. HCX provides OS Assisted Migration to migrate workloads running on other hypervisors to be migrated to VMware Infrastructure on Cloud or On-Premises with minimal disruption.

Both Replicated Assisted vMotion and OS Assisted Migration are available as a part of the HCX Enterprise Edition and must be purchased as an Add-On to the VMware Cloud Subscriptions. By default, VMware Cloud subscription offers only HCX Advanced.

Apart from the migration use cases, HCX can also be integrated with VMware Site Recovery to function as a data mover to support both Disaster Recovery and Disaster Avoidance scenarios. The “Network Extension Tunnel Service” feature of HCX ensures IP Mobility of workloads getting failed over to the other site during disaster recovery situations and a secure DR Path for the Replication Traffic.

That’s it for the current one. Will be back with ‘Use Cases To Integrate With Native Cloud Services’ in my next episode…

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