VMware HCX 4.9 | 26 MAR 2024 | Build 23529166 (Connector), 23529167 (Cloud)

Check for additions and updates to these release notes.

About VMware HCX

VMware HCX delivers secure and seamless application mobility and infrastructure hybridity across both on-premises and in the cloud. HCX abstracts the distinct private or public vSphere resources and presents a Service Mesh as an end-to-end entity. HCX Interconnect can then provide high-performance, secure, and optimized multi-site connectivity to achieve infrastructure hybridity and present multiple options for bi-directional virtual machine mobility with technologies that facilitate the modernization of legacy data centers.

For more information, see the VMware HCX User Guide in the VMware Documentation Center.

System Requirements and Compatibility

For HCX deployment requirements, see Preparing for HCX Installation.

The following resources provide information related to HCX deployments:

Installation and Upgrade

Installing HCX 4.9.0

For sample installation workflows by deployment type, see Installing the HCX Manager Appliance.

Upgrading to HCX 4.9

  • Requirements for HCX deployments:

    • Upgrading to HCX 4.9.0 from HCX 4.4 and above is supported.

      For the upgrade procedure, see Upgrading the HCX Manager.

      Note:

      If you are upgrading HCX using the Upgrade option in the HCX Appliance Management UI (:9443), your system must be running HCX 4.8.2 as minimum version before upgrading to HCX 4.9.0 using pre-downloaded bundle. Refer VMware Knowledge base 97087 for more information.

  • Upgrading to HCX 4.9.0 from all versions less than 4.4 requires a full upgrade to 4.4.2 first.

  • Assistance with upgrading from out-of-support releases will be on a best-effort basis.

  • All site paired systems must be upgraded.

  • All Service Mesh appliances must be upgraded to 4.9.

    For the appliance upgrade procedure, see Upgrading the HCX Service Mesh Appliances.

  • Upgrade snapshots:

    • During upgrades to HCX 4.9, HCX Manager snapshots are taken automatically.

    • Upgrade snapshots are only taken when an HCX Manager is deployed on the same vCenter Server registered to it. For other deployments, manual snapshots can be taken.

    • HCX retains automatic snapshots for 24 hours before deleting them.

      Note: To restore the HCX Manager from a snapshot, contact VMware Support.

  • VMware sends administrative messages to HCX systems that are running out of support and require upgrade. 

  • Upgrade compatibility information is available as a table in VMware Product Interoperability Matrix - Upgrade Path.

Important:

HCX 4.5.0 and later releases have new security requirements for OS Assisted Migration (OSAM). If you use OSAM in your environment, you must upgrade HCX Connector, HCX Cloud Manager, and HCX OSAM data plane appliances (Sentinel Gateway, Sentinel Data Receiver) to HCX 4.5.0 or later. Additionally, you must upgrade Sentinel agents running on the source workloads. For compatibility with HCX 4.8.0, the Sentinel agents, Sentinel Gateway, and Sentinel Data Receiver must be running HCX 4.5.0 or later. If not all appliances compatible, migrations can stall and must be started again after upgrade.

What's New

VMware HCX 4.9.0 represents a major shift in HCX licensing and packaging that includes product activation using the new VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Solution Licensing capabilities. This release also includes repackaging of the OVA downloads and upgrade bundles to more efficiently include all HCX services.

Important:

VMware by Broadcom VCF provides a single licensing framework for activating the suite of VCF and VMware vSphere Foundation (VVF) products. For more information, see VMware Cloud Foundation 5.1.1 Release Notes.

It is recommended that all existing, non-hyperscaler HCX customers upgrade as soon as possible to ensure the highest level of product portability and support across VMware products moving forward.

Licensing and activation

With this release, HCX is transitioning to a common licensing scheme that uses VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) Solution Licensing as the basis for VMware product licensing and feature entitlement. During this transition, HCX 4.9.0 supports these license types:

  • VMware Cloud Foundation - Provides entitlement to all HCX services.

  • NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus - Provides entitlement to HCX Advanced services.

  • HCX Enterprise - Provides entitlement to HCX Enterprise services.

  • HCX Activation Key (for Hyperscaler installations only) - Provides entitlement to HCX Advanced and Enterprise services.

  • Evaluation (no license entry at activation time) - Provides entitlement to all HCX services (limits apply).

For complete information regarding HCX licensing, see HCX Activation and Licensing.

HCX uses these licenses to activate the system. In prior releases, HCX activation required a connection to VMware for license validation. With HCX 4.9.0, license validation for new activations can occur either locally for private cloud sites or with a connection to VMware for hyperscaler environments. HCX 4.9.0 has the following activation modes:

  • Local mode - Local activation applies to new and upgraded HCX deployments where the license is validated locally without requiring a connection to VMware. Local activation occurs for the following license types: VCF, NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus, HCX Enterprise, and evaluation. For customers upgrading to HCX 4.9, deployments will change to this mode automatically.

  • Connected mode - Connected mode applies to sites that require an activation key, which is generated and validated through a connection to VMware. Connected Mode applies only to VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP), and other hyperscaler installations.

  • Evaluation mode (limits apply) - Evaluation Mode applies when you choose the Activate Later option during HCX activation. In this mode, no license is provided for activation. Systems running in this mode are considered to be locally activated with no connection to VMware.

For a complete information regarding these activation modes, see Activating New HCX Systems.

License Discovery and Upgrade

For HCX installations running HCX 4.9.0, VCF Solution Licensing has system-level precedence over other HCX licenses. This means that if the vSphere environment is currently licensed for VCF or is updated to VCF, any new HCX installations or upgrades inherit that VCF license and entitlements. For more information regarding license management, see Managing HCX Licenses.

Inheritance of License Entitlements for Paired Sites

To provide the most flexibility for sites that have been activated with different service entitlements, HCX 4.9.0 provides a notion of inheritance. With inheritance, HCX considers the entitlements associated with each licensed site during Site Pairing. Inheritance logic looks at what services have been enabled at each site and compares that with the entitlements associated with the site pair to generate a Service Mesh supporting those services. For more information, see Understanding Service Inheritance.

Support for Air-gap Environments

In some environments, security policies require systems to be disconnected from internet access, or air-gapped. With HCX 4.9.0, you can select Air-gapped Site Licensing Mode during deployment of the HCX Manager OVA in the vCenter Server. During activation, HCX checks the air-gap setting to determine whether the site can make inbound and outbound connections. For more information, see Understanding Air-gapped Sites.

Note:
  • The WAN Optimization service is not available for air-gapped systems.

  • Air-gapped systems make no TCP 443 connections to hybridity-depot.vmware.com and connect.hcx.vmware.com servers for activation or upgrade.

Customer Experience Improvement Program

The Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) helps to improve HCX products and services, to identify and fix problems, and to develop best practices and procedures for deploying and using HCX. By default, HCX 4.9.0 deployments activated in Local Mode and Evaluation Mode participate in the HCX Customer Improvement Program. You can choose to leave the program at any time by updating the system configuration. See About the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

Note:
  • Leaving CEIP disables all analytics based programs including the HCX WAN Optimization (WAN-OPT) service. WAN-OPT service will not be selectable in the HCX Compute Profile (CP) and Service Mesh (SM) configuration wizards.

  • Leaving CEIP is not possible if the WAN-OPT service/appliance is already enabled in HCX Service Mesh (SM). You must deselect the WAN-OPT service and delete the WAN-OPT appliance before leaving CEIP.

Downloads and Upgrade Bundles

  • New HCX installations (non-hyperscaler sites) - With new HCX 4.9.0 installations, you download the HCX Connector OVA and the HCX Cloud Manager OVA separately from https://downloads.vmware.com. (This is unlike previous HCX releases where you first download the HCX Installer OVA.) See Download the HCX OVAs for Private Clouds.

  • New HCX installations (hyperscaler sites) - Similar to earlier HCX releases, for hyperscaler deployments the HCX Cloud Manager OVA is installed and activated automatically. You obtain the Connector OVA after from HCX Cloud Manager. See Downloading the HCX Connector OVA for Public Clouds.

  • HCX Upgrades - If you are upgrading to HCX 4.9.0, VMware notifies your HCX Manager that the 4.9.0 upgrade is available. When available, follow the procedures to upgrade HCX Manager and the service appliances. See Upgrading the HCX Manager.

    • HCX systems enabled with NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus keys:

      • HCX systems will be transitioned to the local mode by default after upgrade.

      • Outbound HTTPS connections to VMware will be disconnected.

      • https://connect.hcx.vmware.com URL will be removed from Activation UI in the HCX Appliance Management UI (:9443).

      • Local license validation will occur if the registered vCenter is already licensed for VCF, or where the vCenter is not licensed for VCF then HCX system will continue using older NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus product key as usual.

      • HCX systems start participating in the CEIP by default after upgrade. See About the Customer Experience Improvement Program.

        Note:

        For HCX systems to participate in CEIP post upgrade, perimeter firewalls must allow connections to vcsa.vmware.com. See Network Port and Protocol Requirements.

        Also, network access from the HCX system to vcsa.vmware.com should be allowed when there is a proxy configured for outbound HTTPS connections.

      • No change for HCX systems (hyperscaler sites) for VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP), and other hyperscaler installations not using NSX Data Center Enterprise Plus product keys.

HCX Manager OVA

Due to internal repackaging of HCX services, the size of the HCX Manager OVA has increased. You can view the OVA size prior to download.

VMware Cloud Director

VMware HCX 4.9.0 provides migration and network extension services between on-premises sites and VMware Cloud Director 10.5.1. See HCX for VMware Cloud Director with NSX.

For more information about supported versions, see VMware Product Interoperability Matrix.

VSphere Virtual Volumes

With this release, VMware vSphere Virtual Volumes (vVOL) is added as a target datastore for Bulk, vMotion, and Cold migrations.

Note:

vVOL is not supported as a the target datastore for Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV) migrations.

Resolved Issues

Resolved Network Extension Issues

  • PR/3337368 - Network Extension Appliance redeployment fails after a Network Extension workflow failure. Refer VMware Knowledge Base 92598 for more info.

Resolved Migration Issues

  • PR/3285182 - Editing a Mobility group does not retain the locally overridden migration parameters.

  • PR/3317444 - After upgrading the HCX Interconnect appliance, unable to upgrade the OSAM appliances (SGW/SDR).

  • PR/3347389 - Bulk Migration fails with the error, "JSONObject["networks"] not found."

  • PR/3347916 - Thumbprint exchange workflow try to retrieve the Host Based Replication (HBR) server IP address from all HCX fleet appliances.

Resolved Management Issues

  • PR/3296253 - HCX Manager is not accessible due to high database table count that causes the /common partition to become full.

  • PR/3316347 - Deleting a Service Mesh does not delete the associated IP address from the NSX firewall rules in VMware Cloud on AWS.

  • PR/3326072 - fcron and watchdog services in HCX Fleet Appliances (IX/NE) were showing critical status.

  • PR/3341244 - Service Mesh diagnostics test returns two failed probes although all tests show green in the UI. Refer to VMware Knowledge Base 96708 for more information.

Resolved Deployment Issues

  • PR/3300347 - HCX Manager deployment fails when there is an existing system defined management group object in VMware Cloud on AWS. Refer to VMware Knowledge Base 90879 fore more information.

  • PR/3316452 - When restarting the Services during HCX Manager deployment, it becomes stuck in the activating state and fails to start.

Resolved Disaster Recovery Issues

  • PR/3318513 - Disaster recovery does not validate the disk (multiple of 1024) for vSphere Replication. Refer VMware Knowledge Base 83636 for more info.

Product Support Notices

Connection to VMware

  • Connection to hybridity-depot.vmware.com and connect.hcx.vmware.com for licensing, activation, and updates will soon be deprecated in an upcoming release. Systems with active connections will transition to local licensing mode when available for their deployment in a future release. It is important to keep your systems up to date in preparation for this transition.

About NSX for vSphere systems in Extended Support

  • NSX for vSphere General Support ended on January 16, 2022.

  • NSX for vSphere systems in Technical Guidance (under Extended Support contracts) are only supported at the evacuation site (source), with HCX Connector.

  • To determine the HCX Connector version for evacuation, refer to VMware KB articles 82702 and 71398.

Note that HCX Cloud installations require current (Generally Available) VMware software components.  NSX for vSphere is not suitable or supported for HCX Cloud installations.

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