Learning HCX-Part 6: Deploying Fleet Appliances

In last post of this series we did the fleet configuration so that we can deploy the fleet appliances. In this post we will discuss about the fleet appliances and will deploy them.

If you are not following along this series, then I recommend reading earlier posts of this series from below links:

1: Introduction to HCX

2: HCX Enterprise Deployment & Configuration

3: HCX Cloud Deployment & Configuration

4: HCX Site Pairing

5: Configuring Interconnect Networks

There are 3 appliances that you can deploy in your HCX environment:

Cloud Gateway (CGW): The CGW appliance is responsible for creating encrypted tunnel between on-premise and HCX-Cloud for vMotion and Replication traffic. CGW deployment is kicked from on-prem and its deployed as virtual machine in both on-prem and cloud side.

CGW constitutes the migration path for vMotion and replication traffic and it is done via establishing a secure connection between the 2 CGW vm’s deployed in on-prem and cloud side respectively. This secure connection provides the tunnel by which migration traffic traverses either the public internet or private connection.

WAN Optimizer: The function of WAN Optimizer appliance is to deduplicate and compress the migration traffic which goes out on internet via the cloud gateway appliance. WAN optimizer is also deployed in both on-prem and in the cloud.

Layer2 Concentrator (L2C): L2C appliance enables end user to stretch layer 2 networks from on-prem to cloud. This feature is very useful in situation when you are migrating workloads to cloud and do not want to Re-IP your workloads post successful migration.

Deployment of L2C appliance is kicked from on-prem, but it is deployed in cloud side as well. Once the appliance is deployed on both sides, the on-prem L2C initiates and establishes a secure connection terminating at L2C appliance in the cloud.  Once tunnel is established between the 2 appliances, users can then stretch the L2 networks to cloud. 

Note: VMware NSX is a mandatory requirement for using the stretch network feature of HCX. 

Lets deploy these appliances one by one in lab.

Deploying CGW appliance

Login to vCenter Web Client and click on HCX plugin from home page and go to Interconnect > HCX Components tab and click on Install HCX Components. 


Select HCX Interconnect Service and hit Next.


Specify the placement container for the CGW and specify the management and vMotion IP address for the appliance. Punch in the passwords and hit Next.


On Ready to complete page review your settings and hit finish. 


It will take 7-10 minutes for appliance to get deployed and boot up. 


A new VM will be added in your on-prem vCenter. 


Once the on-prem and cloud CGW VM’s boot up and all services are initialized, you will see the tunnel status as Up.

You will see the presence of a new Esxi host (Mobility Agent host) added in both on-prem and cloud side.



Also you will see a new datastore (500 TB) with name ma-ds-uuid created in both source and destination side.


Deploying L2C Appliance

To deploy L2C appliance, click on ‘Install HCX Components’ and select ‘Network Extension Service‘ and hit Next.


Since my CGW appliance was already deployed, nothing to change here. If you have not deployed CGW yet, wizard will ask you to do so.


On Network Extension Service page, specify the placement location for L2C appliance and provide IP address, Netmask and gateway etc.

Make sure your MTU settings match with what is set there on the uplink selected for Management Network. Typically this MTU is what you set at the vDS level.

Finally punch in your password and hit Next.


On Ready to complete page, review your settings and hit finish.


Wait for 5-7 minutes for appliance to get deployed and initialized properly. You can see then a new component added in HCX.


Make sure that Tunnel status reports as up. If tunnel is showing down, then ensure your on-prem CGW can reach cloud side CGW on UDP port 500 and 4500

As discussed earlier, you will see the L2C appliance in both on-prem and cloud side.



Deploying WAN Optimizer

I am not using WAN Optimizer in my environment as my on-prem and cloud site are locally connected and I will not be sending any traffic via WAN in my lab. 

But steps of deployment are very straight forward as shown in below slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And that’s it for this post. In next post of this series we will be discussing about how to use the HCX features to make a truly hybrid infrastructure.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Feel free to share this on social media if it is worth sharing. Be sociable :)