Migrate VMware Cloud Director from NSX-V to NSX-T

The VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director 1.2 version was released last week with support for VMware Cloud Director 10.2 and its new enhanced NSX-T integration (distributed firewall, load balancing, VRF-lite, etc.) as well for multiple external networks and multiple edge gateways.

VMware Cloud Director is a cloud platform that allows cloud service providers to convert physical data centers into highly elastic virtual data centers (VDCs). Built on top of the underlying compute and networking platforms that virtualize the physical infrastructure, VMware Cloud Director has a deep integration with NSX Data Center. This alliance allows cloud providers to offer self-service networking and security such as edge services (NAT, routing, DHCP, etc.), L4-L7 firewalling, logical load balancing, NAT, IP services (DHCP, DNS), VPN, and much more.

VMware Cloud Director has historically supported multiple networking products, but currently supports NSX Data Center for vSphere and NSX-T Data Center. VMware announced the sunsetting of NSX-V, and the current end of general support is targeted for January 2022, while the end of technical guidance will be in January 2023.

NSX-V to NSX-T for Cloud Providers

While similar to some extent, NSX for vSphere (NSX-V) and NSX-T are two completely different products and migration to NSX-T Data Center is top of mind for cloud providers who are on NSX for vSphere.

There are multiple methods to migrate from NSX for vSphere to NSX-T Data Center. The selection of the correct method depends on your context:

  • NSX-T Migration Coordinator – Built-in, automated migration tool introduced with the NSX-T 2.4 release and improved multiple times in the past year. However, the NSX-T Migration Coordinator is not aware of VMware Cloud Director constructs and thus cannot be used in such environments.
  • Coexistence – New workloads are deployed on NSX-T, and the older workloads are allowed to die over time.
  • Lift and shift – NSX-T infrastructure is deployed in parallel along with the existing NSX-V infrastructure. The key difference from the co-exist model is the migration of the configuration and workloads from NSX-V to NSX-T, which have to be handled manually, or by using scripting or a 3rd party tool.

But what about VMware Cloud Director cloud platform? None of those options provide an automated migration for such environments. Fortunately, a 4th option is available, focusing only on migrating VMware Cloud Director from NSX-V to NSX-T: the VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director can migrate the workload VMs and other organization VDC objects to the same vCenter Server instance managed by VMware Cloud Director. 🙌

NSX-V to NSX-T for VCPP Cloud Providers

NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director Tool

Developed by the Cloud Services Business Unit (CSBU), the VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool provides per Organization VDC migration to a new vSphere cluster under NSX-T management and minimizes network downtime with bridged networks during migration.

This 1.2 release is the 3rd iteration of the NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool and brings several new features:

  • Distributed firewall (DFW) migration support
  • NSX-V load balancing migration to NSX Advanced Load Balancer (Avi)
  • Multiple edge gateways support
  • Multiple external networks support
  • DHCP services on the source isolated organization VDC networks support
  • VRF gateway as destination external networks support

Migrate Cloud Director from NSX-V to NSX-T like a boss

How does NSX Migration for Cloud Director tool works?

The NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director comes as a package for Linux or Windows; it is a Python-based CLI tool that is installed in the provider environment. A system administrator must execute it from a device with access to VMware Cloud Director, NSX-V, NSX-T, and vCenter Server.

Compared to the NSX-T Migration Coordinator, this tool doesn’t provide an in-place migration: it is an external automation tool that migrates the workload VMs and other organization VDC objects to a new NSX-T backed provider VDC in the same vCenter Server instance.

This modular migration within the same VMware Cloud Director environment, in combination with NSX-T Layer 2 bridging and vSphere vMotion, helps minimize downtime while moving workloads over to NSX-T.

VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool - Architecture Design
VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool – Architecture Design

¨Please make sure your read carefully the release notes and the user guide for the list of supported features and topologies.

Getting Started with the NSX Migration for Cloud Director tool

The NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool is not a part of VMware Cloud Director installation and is executed externally. It can be downloaded for free from the Drivers & Tools section from the VMware Cloud Director download page.

Download the VMware NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool

To install and run the NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director, the existing environment requires a specific configuration. At a high-level:

  • Make sure that the software versions are listed as compatible and supported
  • NSX-T must be deployed and configured
    • Optionally, NSX Advanced Load Balancer (Avi) should be deployed and configured if load balancing services have to be migrated
  • VMware Cloud Director configured with at least one NSX-V backed provider VDC and one NSX-T backed provider VDC, managed by the same vCenter instance
  • Target external networks (Tier-0/VRF gateways) configured and imported into VCD with the same subnet as the source external networks
  • Dedicated NSX-T edge cluster(s) for bridging deployed and running on NSX-V prepared clusters
    • This cluster acts as a bridge between source networks (VLAN or VXLAN) and destination GENEVE overlay networks

The full list of prerequisites are described in the User Guide which can be found on the download page.

Once the environment is ready, each organization VDC migration detail can be configured within a user input YAML file. When a migration is executed, the tool starts by verifying the source organization VDC as it allow only the migration of supported networking features.

I recorded a short demo (5 min) walking you through a VMware Cloud Director migration from NSX-V to NSX-T. This demo focuses on using this new 1.2 release to migrate distributed firewall rules and NSX-V load balancer.

Direct link to the demo: NSX-V to NSX-T Migration for VMware Cloud Director 1.2 Demo

Summary

This 1.2 release of the NSX Migration for VMware Cloud Director tool introduced many new features, with the highlights focused on helping partners to migrate confidently to NSX-T:

  • Support of VMware Cloud Director 10.2 new networking features
  • Automates the migration of Cloud Director metadata and workloads from NSX-V to NSX-T
  • Per organization VDC migration to scope maintenance window to a single tenant
  • Minimizes network downtime with bridged networks during migration
  • Live migration with vMotion to ensure non-disruption to user workloads
  • Keep the source organization VDC configuration and NSX-V environment as-is to allow rollback

Initially released in 1.0 version in April 2020, this migration tool has a different release cycle than VMware Cloud Director and we are already actively developing new versions.

You are also encouraged to provide feedback to help VMware decide how the tool should evolve. We would love to hear about you, either here in the comments section, in social media (@woueb), or via your VMware representative.

Additional resources:

Posted by Linux Admin