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Getting Started With Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) – Migrating Workloads Using VMware HCX

In my recent ‘Getting started with Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OVCS)’ post; Getting Started With Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) – Connecting To An On-Premises Environment we set up hybrid connectivity between our on-premises vSphere environment and our OCVS SDDC allowing our on-premises workloads to communicate with workloads running in our workload overlay network.

Posts in this series:

In this blog post, which is the last blog post in this series, we are going to install VMware HCX in our on-premises vSphere environment and set up a site-pairing between our on-premises environment and our OCVS SDDC. Once we have HCX configured, we will test our connectivity by migrating workloads between our sites. We will also configure an extended network between both sites using HCX. This allows virtual machines to move between sites without the need to change IP addresses.

NOTE: As this is not a HCX focused post, we will not be going into the details of how we configured our HCX service mesh. If you are not familiar with configuring HCX, I’d recommend following VMware’s official documentation: VMware HCX User Guide.

Here is a high-level diagram of what we are going to be configuring.

Installing The HCX Connector

The first step in the process of installing VMware HCX in our on-premises environment is to download the HCX Connector appliance from our HCX instance running in our OCVS environment. In this article I am only going to document how to download the HCX Connector through the vCenter interface. The HCX Connector OVA can also be downloaded from the HCX Manager directly using these steps: Downloading the HCX Connector OVA

  1. Login to the OCVS console
  2. Select the correct Region, this should be the same region that the SDDC and Bastion host were deployed into
  3. Click on the burger icon at the top left of the screen to display the menu
  4. Scroll down on the left-hand side menu and select VMware Solution
    • Select the name of your newly deployed SDDC

We are now presented with the SDDC information. This page contains all of the important URLs, IP Addresses, Usernames, Passwords that you’ll need to access and manage your environment.

    • In the SDDC Information section, Copy the vSphere Client URL
    • Open a browser window either on the Bastion host or on a machine that has access to the Bastion host via an SSL Tunnel
    • Paste the vSphere Client URL into a new browser tab
    • Copy/Paste the vCenter Initial Username and vCenter Initial password to log in to vCenter

Once logged into vCenter, we need to head into the HCX interface.

  1. Click Menu in the vSphere client and select HCX from the dropdown menu

    • Click Administration in the left-hand menu
    • Click Request Download Link
    • Either download the OVA directly or copy the link to the OVA and paste it into a browser to begin the download process.


Once the OVA has been downloaded, we now need to deploy it into our on-premises vSphere environment. This process is not unique to customers using OCVS, as-such, I will not document this process, I will, however, provide some links to the official VMware HCX documentation.

In order for the on-premises Connector to connect to the HCX Manager in OCVS, you need to make sure the following Firewall ports are open on your on-premises environment. The Security Lists for HCX were configured in my previous blog post: Getting Started With Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) – Connecting To An On-Premises Environment

When activating the on-premises HCX Connector, you will need to copy the HCX License Key from the OCI console.

  1. Login to the OCVS console
  2. Select the correct Region, this should be the same region that the SDDC and Bastion host were deployed into
  3. Click on the burger icon at the top left of the screen to display the menu
  4. Scroll down on the left-hand side menu and select VMware Solution
    • Select the name of your newly deployed SDDC
      • Copy the HCX On-premises Connector Activation Key


To activate the HCX Connector, follow the steps in the following link, using the HCX Activation key you just copied from the OCVS SDDC interface. Activating and Configuring HCX

Creating A Site Pairing To OCVS

When creating the site pairing between the on-premises environment and the OCVS SDDC, you’ll need to specify the HCX Manager FQDN or IP address and then use the vCenter Initial Username and Password. Do not try and use the HCX Manager Initial Username and Password, as you’ll end up with an authentication error.


You should now see the newly configure site pairing on the HCX Dashboard. As you can see in my screenshot, I have an on-premises vSphere environment on the west coast of the US and an OCVS SDDC in the UK.

Creating An HCX Service Mesh

With the site pairing created, you will now need to configure your service mesh. If you are not familiar with this process, follow the VMware documentation: Creating a Service Mesh

Migrating Your Workloads

Bulk Migration
With the site pairing and service mesh configured between our on-premises vSphere environment and our OCVS SDDC, it’s time to start migrating some workloads. For my first migration, I decided to do a simple, bulk migration of a single virtual machine from my on-premises environment over to OCVS.


The virtual machine’s data is copied over to the remote site and once the data transfer is complete, the virtual machine is powered off on the on-premises environment, and moved into a folder named ‘VMs migrated to cloud’. The virtual machine is then added into the inventory of the OCVS SDDC and powered on.

vMotion
Following the success of a Bulk Migration, next up, we can extend an on-premises network into our OCVS SDDC. An HCX Network Extension, also known as a stretched Layer 2 network, allows us to extend the virtual machine networks to a VMware HCX-enabled remote site. Virtual machines that are migrated or created on the extended segment at the remote site are on the same Layer 2 network as virtual machines placed on the origin network.

Creating the network extension is a very simple process performed via the HCX interface.


I selected one of my on-premises networks (Test-Overlay-1) to be extended into my OCVS SDDC.


With the Extended Network in place, I can now select the virtual machine that I want to vMotion, configuring which Cluster, Datastore and Folder that the virtual machine should be moved to.


Once the Migration plan has been validated, we can start the replication and after a period of time you’ll start to see the virtual machine being vMotioned into our OCVS SDDC. Magic!


Of course, there are limitations when it comes to migrations. So please be sure to consult the HCX Configuration Limits documentation.

Summary

With VMware HCX, migrating workloads is quick and simple, and best of all, HCX is included as part of the OVCS service. Once HCX is configured correctly, you can migrate workloads to and from your OCVS SDDC as necessary.

This is the last blog post in the ‘Getting Started With Oracle Cloud VMware Solution’ blog series. I hope you found it useful. If you have any questions, feedback, please contact me on Twitter, @simonlong_

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