How to deploy VMware HCX: Workload Mobility, Hybrid Cloud

My on premise datacenter is running VMware VCF 3.9.1 on VxRail 4.7.410. We want to deploy VMware HCX OVA into the on-premise datacenter and then connect to a cloud remote instance of HCX. There will be two instances of HCX. One in the cloud and one instance in your datacenter.

Below is the on-prem datacenter.

First thing we will need to do for the on premise site is to get the OVA for the Enterprise site or Connector Site. If you log into the cloud site using port 443, it can be seen as below. Click on “Request Download Link” right below Pair your remote data center with VMware HCX. Depending on your cloud provider, this step might vary, but get the Enterprise OVA.

If you clicked Request link, you’ll see the following and select the down arrow VMware HCX. On inspection of Copy Link and Download VMware HCX, it’s pulling from VMware.com. So, that’s good.

The “Enterprise” or Connector site OVA looks like “VMware-HCX-Enterprise-3.5.2-15665455.ova”. While writing and double checking this, I see there is actually a slightly newer OVA available “VMware-HCX-Connector-3.5.3-16460208.ova”. I am using an OVA I previously downloaded. I may have to update this or create new blog posting to reflect newer content, but there’s so many hours in the day.

The “Cloud” site OVA looks like “VMware-HCX-Installer-3.5.3-15914833.ova”. Notice the name difference.

Deploy the Enterprise OVA by downloading it from VMware.com or by downloading it from the “cloud” site.

Select the compute resource. I am putting it in my edge resource group for now.

Review OVA product details from publisher.

You will accepted the EULA.

and selected a datastore.

I will put this on my vCenter management network port group.

Give the admin account and the root account a password. Fill in the Network Properties, and DNS settings, and NTP section as well. I also checked the checkbox for Enable SSH, for fun, but I probably would not leave it checked if in production. You can enable / disable SSH service later as needed. None of this should be new information.. just fill it out for static IP and network settings. If you leave it blank, you’ll get what’s available from a DHCP server if available.

verify your subnet info and DNS info.

Enable SSH

Her’s an example, where I only filled out the password and the rest will be picked up from DHCP. I usually prefer to use static IP’s, but to each their own.

After your appliance is deployed, power it on.

Once HCX Enterprise / Connector OVA has been deployed we will need to go to the IP port 9443 to run the initial setup of the appliance. Login as admin and the password you specified during OVA deployment.

On first login attempt it will prompt you to enter your NSX Enterprise Plus license key. Note: This is not your HCX Enterprise Key. That key, if you have it, is optional and you would put it on the next license key screen. Yes, there are two license screens back to back.

  • License screen 1: NSX Enterprise Plus License
  • License screen 2: HCX Advanced License

Once you login as the admin user, you will see the screen below. You will need to put your NSX Enterprise Plus license key in this field. Also, notice it says Enterprise top right. If this was the “cloud” site, instead of saying Type: Enterprise, it will say Type: Cloud top right. License screen 1.

If you select an incorrect key it will tell you like error below. In this sample below with error message, I tried to put in my “HCX Enterprise” key. The first license page is actually asking for my NSX Enterprise key. One can also select Activate Later, if you like, but you will not get very far with actually using the product.

The next license screen is the HCX Enterprise Upgrade Key. This is the HCX Enterprise Key which is optional. License screen 2.

You will also see this called HCX Advanced Key on port 9443 Configuration tab > Licensing page.

From here, you may see an update screen. If so, just let it run and check back later. I’ve seen time frames vary from 1 to several hours.

The next screen will ask you to select a City where you gear is located. Round Rock wasn’t a choice, but Austin is listed. You choose your city where the gear is located.

Give it a system name. I like making the system name the same as the shortname of a FQDN.

HCX is not completely installed just yet. We still need to make it available as a plugin into VCenter.

Click Yes, Continue to add in the VCenter server and optional NSX URL. I add my VCenter URL giving it administrator@vsphere.local with my administrator password. I am not going to connect my on-prem NSX instance at this time. I will be stretching my local vCenter port group to the cloud, but I don’t have a need to stretch the port groups from the cloud to on-prem vCenter at this time. Once the L2 stretched segment has been stretched, one can create VM’s in the cloud on that L2 stretched segment if you like.

The next screens it will prompt you to put in your SSO URL or Platform Service Controller URL. Note: If you have VCF deployed, it deploys a secondary PSC. So, I just use the first PSC shown below for my SSO / PSC URL in HCX config. If you do not have an external PSC, then your embedded PSC will work, just point the SSO / PSC URL to the VCenter URL again. It’s always a great idea to verify if your vCenter is using the embedded PSC or an external PSC. If unsure, log into VCenter port 5480 to double check. As I write this, I am aware that as of VSphere 7, external Platform Service Controllers are depreciated and no longer used.

After filling out the VCenter URL and SSO URL it will ask you if you want to restart now or later. Either way, but now is good. It will restart the Web Service and Application Service you will find on the Appliance Summary page.

Now’s a good time to take a break while the Web Service and Application Service is restarted as it will take several minutes.

There are other tabs up top we can review like Configuration and Administration, but after the services restart, you can exit out of this UI on port 9443.

After it’s all said and done, your Dashboard will look like mine. Select admin username top right and logout of the UI.

After several minutes have passed and the services have restarted in HCX, we can login to VCenter and the new HCX plugin will be installed. If you are already in VCenter, log out of VCenter and log back in.

You should see VMware HCX in menu.

Thanks,

Published by Ben

I do stuff in the datacenter.

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