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VMware HCX – The Rise of the Mobility Platform

VMware HCX has become a critical component of our customers’ application modernization journey over the last two years. In this article, we explore the evolution and future of this mobility platform.

Since its introduction two years ago, VMware HCX has become a critical component of the modernization journey for many of our customers, helping them move hundreds of thousands of workloads to modern infrastructure. It’s clear that the SDDC vision resonates with our customers and is shaping both the long-term design of  their data centers and their cloud strategy.

It’s important to note that  modernization is a journey, not a simple one-time event. As customers start their journey, they often evaluate the current application landscape and recognize the complexity introduced by mixed hardware and software versions, application dependencies and network inconsistencies across platforms.

Moving existing applications to a new SDDC can be a significant task, especially when you consider most customers are now leveraging two or more clouds in addition to their on-premises data centers. This is further compounded by the fact a one-time movement or migration is no longer enough; the new expectation is to have the ability to move workloads on demand across a growing number of cloud and on-premises landing pads. This is the essence of mobility, and is what VMware HCX delivers.

The vision for HCX has always been to simplify application portability to accelerate infrastructure modernization, and we’ve been continually innovating to support the many mobility use cases. Of course, the all-important first step is to migrate workloads to the cloud, a use case that continues to grow in importance, with 61% of organizations saying it’s a top cloud initiative for 2020.

In our experience with HCX users, the initial migration provides  a degree of comfort with moving applications. This quickly leads to additional opportunities to optimize cloud usage. While the first migration project is typically a simple way to move workloads to the cloud without making any changes, stage two may require replatforming applications, upgrading versions, or converting from one platform to another as part of the move. Stage three is often focused on optimizing cloud footprints by rebalancing applications across cloud regions or providers in alignment to a company’s cost, performance and security goals. Stage four may be to leverage new infrastructure, as well as the HCX mobility platform as a tool for on-demand and planned application mobility.

At the heart of mobility is the understanding of the source or current infrastructure of an application, as well as the destination or the desired target. VMware has been investing heavily in relationships with leading cloud providers around the globe, and continually expanding destinations or target environments with providers like Microsoft (see announcement), Amazon, Google and Oracle, among  others, to provide a consistent VMware customer experience. Of course, HCX is a key component in all these offerings and  delivers on the promise of mobility,ensuring our customers are realizing the full value of their new investments as quickly as possible.

What’s next for HCX? Adapting Mobility for the Telco Cloud

As HCX is a proven mobility platform and  a foundational element of all VMware enterprise cloud and on-prem offerings, we were recently tasked with adapting the platform to address a new and growing challenge. Could the HCX platform deliver on the same mobility promise for a new set of workloads for our telco customers?

VMware has been heavily investing in our Telco portfolio through acquisitions and new product developments (see Telco Cloud Automation announcement) to help customers build and manage 5G rollouts across the globe.

What you may not know is HCX is a key component of the new TCA offering, enabling the dynamic management of network services for distributed telco operator environments. VMware Telco Cloud Automation leverages HCX to enable large-scale multi-cloud placement and lifecycle management of network functions (VNF, CNF) and service workloads. The core mobility features of the HCX platform combined with  new purpose-built functionality  empower our telco customers to automate the distribution, portability and management of network services from the network core to the edge and from private to public clouds.

Now is an exciting time in our technology history. The growth of distributed environments (on-prem, clouds, edges), as well as agile software development and delivery,  is creating an obvious need for continual movement and rebalancing of workloads to ensure availability, performance, security and cost management goals are always met.

The need for a mobility platform to optimize, connect and migrate large volumes of workloads is more evident than ever, and HCX is continuing to evolve to meet the needs of our customers across any VMware platform. Whether it’s to provide multi-cloud mobility for enterprise customers or to support  our telco customers’ 5G rollouts, HCX is pushing the boundaries and setting the standard for how the industry views a workload mobility platform.