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VMware HCX adds Mobility Groups to simplify Workload Migration: Easily Identify, Group, Plan and Migrate Complex Applications

This blog is part of series. Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

HCX Mobility Groups functionality allows you to structure your migration waves based on your business requirements. That means you can execute those waves without service disruption. We’ll explore the main benefits of Mobility Groups and reveal the 5 steps to simplify the process of building your migration waves.


If there were ever a right time to look for a large-scale automated workload migration solution, it’s today Automation is now expected across markets.Tolerance for human error, manual tasks, downtime and service interruption is near zero.  Automation and risk-reduction play an increasingly vital role as the trend toward hybrid and multi-cloud strategies accelerate.

As a Product Manager, I’m privileged to get to listen to hundreds of customers globally. I often hear how stressful migrations can bel to any organization. Not least because they’re usually associated with business risk in the form of application downtime, which usually translates to lost revenue. 

Planning and scheduling migration waves (ie: which workloads should be migrated and when) are among the toughest challenges associated with a data center refresh, evacuation or cloud adoption.

The lack of clear and current documentation detailing the application landscape adds greater anxiety with every scheduled migration wave. Organizations try to mitigate that by conducting exhaustive interviews with application owners. This, they hope, will help them understand the application interdependency, application requirements and any changes associated with moving the application to its final landing zone. Sound familiar?

The good news is: this process becomes a lot easier with HCX Mobility Groups.

HCX Mobility Groups

Mobility Groups is a feature that we introduced to HCX Enterprise Customers in R132

The key benefits of Mobility Groups are:

1. Simplifying the selection of large groups of Virtual Machines to build migration waves:

  • Using RegEx – DC naming conventions become highly  prescriptive. So you could usually deduce the host location, type, and function from the name alone. This lets you select a group of VMs based on naming convention.
  • Using stretched vLAN – It’s common today to execute migration waves by network segments. This feature simplifies that grouping. Re-IPing workloads is a daunting task. Stretching your vLANs helps your workload maintain it’s IP while migrating. After migration, you can un-stretch the vLAN and update your routing tables. HCX can automate this task today.
  • Using Resource Pool – It’s also common to select migration waves based on a modernization effort that includes a storage array refresh.


2. Planning migration resourcing: First, the selection criteria are set. Next, the interface presents the administrator with the total number of resources required to accommodate the migration at the landing zone. The interface will also present an add button. It presents the button “in a shopping cart fashion” in case the administrator wants to use additional filters to encompass a larger group

3. Consolidated Migration report: this shows the overall progress along with details for individual wave members.

The #1 challenge that we’re trying to solve is complexity. To do this, we’ve simplified building migration waves to 5 steps:


  1. Name your migration wave: This helps keep track of the various migration waves within your scope. The migration report will also reflect this.
  2. Choosing a workload: You can select your workloads based on name, network, resource or a combination of these. The initial release will be handling up to 100 members per group. We’ll introduce scaling migration waves in future releases.
  3. Adding members to your wave: Once you’ve selected members, the ADD button invites you to include them in the migration wave.
  4. Choose migration type and schedule: HCX offers a variety of migration/replication solutions to accommodate different business SLAs and  SLOs. Mobility Groups lets you select a migration profile for the whole wave. Alternatively you can specify a migration profile for individual members.You can then validate the selection and confirm that the landing zone can accommodate the planned wave. Finally, you can choose to save the Mobility Group to be triggered at a later date or execute right away.
  5. Migrate and monitor: Under the Migration tab, youcan track the various waves. The report lets you search for specific Mobility Groups, errors or even individual Virtual Machine names.



It’s rare in a large production environment to find a single application running on a single VM on a single host. That means that even if some solutions exist today that let you move a couple of VMs online, your application would still suffer a downtime. That’s because the solution won’t include the whole eco-system supporting the application. Luckily, this isn’t the case with HCX. 

The new HCX Mobility Groups functionality lets you structure your migration waves based on your business requirements. You can then execute those waves with no service disruption. 

HCX helps accelerate your organization’s cloud adoption. It does this by facilitating workload mobility across multiple destinations running a Software-Defined DC stack. Migration is just one feature of what the solution supports. Now you can eliminate all downtime associated with those migrations and organizationally treat them as if you’re doing a VMotion between hosts in a local cluster.

Interested in learning more?