VMware HCX comprises a virtual management component at both the source and destination sites, and up to five types of VMware HCX Interconnect service appliances depending on the HCX license. VMware HCX services are configured and activated at the source site, and then deployed as virtual appliances at the source site, with a peer appliance at the destination site.

HCX Connector and HCX Cloud Installations

In the HCX site-to-site architecture, there is notion of an HCX source and an HCX destination environment. Depending on the environment, there is a specific HCX installer: HCX Connector or HCX Cloud. HCX Connector is always deployed as the source. HCX Cloud is typically deployed as the destination, but it can be used as the source in cloud-to-cloud deployments. In HCX-enabled public clouds, the cloud provider deploys HCX Cloud. The public cloud tenant deploys HCX Connector on-premises.

The source and destination sites are paired together for HCX operations.


An HCX Connector cannot be paired with another HCX Connector.

In both the source and the destination environments, HCX is deployed to the management zone, next to each site's vCenter Server, which provides a single plane (HCX Manager) for administering VMware HCX. This HCX Manager provides a framework for deploying HCX service virtual machines across both the source and destination sites. VMware HCX administrators are authenticated, and each task authorized through the existing vSphere SSO identity sources. VMware HCX mobility, extension, protection actions can be initiated from the HCX User Interface or from within the vCenter Server Navigator screen's context menus.

In the NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus (HCX for Private to Private deployments), the tenant deploys both source and destination HCX Managers.

HCX-IX Interconnect Appliance

The HCX-IX service appliance provides replication and vMotion-based migration capabilities over the Internet and private lines to the destination site whereas providing strong encryption, traffic engineering, and virtual machine mobility.

The HCX-IX appliance includes deployment of the Mobility Agent service that appears as a host object in the vCenter server. Mobility Agent is the mechanism that HCX uses to perform vMotion, Cold, and Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV) migrations to a destination site.

HCX WAN Optimization Appliance

The VMware HCX WAN Optimization service improves performance characteristics of the private lines or Internet paths by applying WAN optimization techniques like the data de-duplication and line conditioning. It makes performance closer to a LAN environment. It accelerates on-boarding to the destination site using Internet connections, without waiting for Direct Connect/MPLS circuits.

HCX Network Extension Virtual Appliance

The HCX Network Extension service provides a low-touch operation for faster performance (4–6 Gbps) Layer 2 Extension from environments that use a vSphere Distributed Switch, or NSX Networking. HCX Network Extension provides the ability to keep the same IP and MAC addresses during virtual machine migrations. HCX Network Extension with Mobility Optimized Networking eliminates "tromboning" between migrated virtual machines on different extended segments, and virtual machines on native NSX-T networks at the destination.

HCX Sentinel Gateway Appliance

Using VMware HCX OS Assisted Migration (OSAM), you can migrate guest (non-vSphere) virtual machines from on-premise data centers to the cloud. The OSAM service has several components: the HCX Sentinel software that is installed on each virtual machine to be migrated, a Sentinel Gateway (SGW) appliance for connecting and forwarding guest workloads in the source environment, and a Sentinel Data Receiver (SDR) in the destination environment.

HCX Sentinel Data Receiver Appliance

The HCX Sentinel Data Receiver (SDR) appliance works with the HCX Sentinel Gateway appliance to receive, manage, and monitor data replication operations at the destination environment.