Ten years ago, using VMware vMotion to migrate a Virtual Machine from one server to another, even in the same rack without interruption, was considered black magic, prompting raised eyebrows and a flurry of questions.  Today, it takes quite a bit more than just a standard host-to-host vMotion to solicit a similar response.Recently however, we received a reaction similar to the days of old, rich with the nostalgia of the early days of vMotion.

You can see this demo at video above, where we demonstrate a long-distance vMotion across continents. We can achieve this seamlessly using NSX cross-vCenter networking.


Using IBM SoftLayer bare metal capacity, we deployed a small cluster of three servers (foundationally with vSphere, NSX and VSAN) in two separate data centers with a vCenter instance in each location.  We then provisioned an NSX Universal Logical Switch between the sites, which is essentially a virtual wire that stitches together the two geographically disparate data centers and respective IP address space.


NSX Cross-vCenter Networking-1

We then deployed four small Linux-based Virtual Machines (16GB HDD & 1GB of memory) and connected them the newly provisioned Universal Logical Switch.  This is where it gets good and folks start moving forward in their seat, we then proceeded to vMotion one VM across the backbone of the SoftLayer Private Network, traversing one datacenter to another.

NSX Cross-vCenter Networking-2

Within 2 minutes, the VM completed its journey and remained connected to the same logical switch.  Since we used vMotion, the VM was delivered safely without any service interruption.  By remaining connected to the same logical switch and the same L2 domain, there was no need to re-IP or modify the VMs in any way.  Finally, while remaining connected to the same VXLAN segment, we vMotioned a second VM across the SoftLayer Private Backbone to split the 4 VMs across the two vCenter domains.  There was absolutely no service interruption during the migration, and the remote consoles remained active and connected to all 4 VMs… queue the raised hands, faces bright with intrigue, and that all too familiar excitement revisited on a foundational VMware capability.

Although this is a brief example of the many applications of this capability, it’s important to highlight the combined benefits of VMware vSphere, NSX and VSAN, coupled with the throughput & reliability of the IBM SoftLayer Private Network to deliver some truly amazing functionality.  I envision that this technology will enable customers to easily migrate workloads, from on-prem datacenters to the cloud, facilitate DR and drive the ability to balance workloads not only within metro areas but across broad geographies as well.