Layer 2 Extension Lifecycle with VMware HCX: Stretch Before You Extend and Transition Peacefully

5 min read

VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension provides a true hybrid cloud experience

Migration can be daunting, whether you’re a wild duck flying south to Texas from the great white north, an immigrant crossing the Atlantic to Ellis Island, or a VMware administrator trying to move workloads to the cloud. However, infrastructure hybridity with VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) on IBM Cloud can ease the anxiety and provide a true hybrid cloud experience for workload portability, agility, disaster recovery, and business continuity in a secure fashion.

HCX has proven itself a useful tool for enabling businesses to move applications to the IBM Cloud. HCX leverages key technologies and techniques to provide easy migration of VMware virtualized workloads from an on-premise data center into the IBM Cloud (in most cases with zero downtime). Let’s focus in on one piece of the HCX puzzle: layer 2 extension.

Layer 2 extension of the customer data center to the cloud

The ability to provide a layer 2 extension (L2E) of the customer data center to the cloud is a fundamental capability of VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension. Achieving a layer 2 extension provides the basis for cross-cloud mobility, which allows for any-to-any vSphere migrations with zero downtime. What do I mean by “any-to-any vSphere migrations”? Simply put, with HCX, even if you are running an older version of vSphere in your local environment (e.g., 5.x), you can easily migrate them into a newer version of vSphere (e.g., 6.5) in the IBM Cloud with no need to do a version update first. HCX achieves this by loosely coupling the underlying vSphere architecture, which means it does not require direct communication between the vSphere ESXi hosts.

The drawing below highlights the tunnel established between the layer 2 concentrators through which the networks are stretched into the cloud.

Layer 2 extension of the customer data center to the cloud


To see and experience layer 2 extension and workload migration to IBM Cloud first-hand, check out: IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions Migration using HCX. Included are several videos, including one I recorded titled “HCX on IBM Cloud in Action.” In addition, check out these related resources: VMware Solutions on IBM Cloud and Zerto on IBM Cloud.

HCX will give you a fast start to your IBM Cloud journey

Traditional approaches to migrations take months. Combining VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension with a coarse-grained approach to migration wave planning expedites the migration of single VMs and less complex applications, allowing you to get a fast start on your IBM Cloud journey. Dealing with the less challenging applications early in the migration gives you more time to focus on the multi-tiered applications with complex dependencies that require additional planning and effort.

HCX may not help you find your way to Ellis Island and it certainly isn’t of use to a duck, but it does make migration into the IBM Cloud easy.

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About the author:

Joseph Brown (@IBMatEpcot) is a senior architect who has led the migration of over 100 large enterprise customers’ workloads to the IBM Cloud. Migration of entire data centers into the IBM Cloud has never been easier. Questions? Please feel free to ask!

For more great IBM Cloud content, please follow the rest of our team for continual updates: Jack Benney (@benney), Jordan Shamir (@jordanshamir2), Simon Kofkin-Hansen (@simonkh), Scott Moonen (@smoonen).

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