June 05, 2023

Understanding VMware Cloud Services Gateway Appliances

In the path to the cross-cloud journey, organizations might feel confused about the different appliances needed to integrate their local environment with the cloud services offered by VMware. In this entry we will list some of the cloud services offered and the respective appliance or appliances needed to achieve this integration.

Gateways, Proxies, Collectors, Connectors. You have started experimenting with the benefits of embracing the cross-cloud journey and using VMware Cloud Services to deliver your IT operations. However, there might be some confusion on the different appliances needed to interconnect your on-premises VMware vSphere implementations securely and reliably with the VMware Cloud Service platform.

In this entry, we would like to provide a starting point of reference to clarify when each of those connectors are needed, according to the product you are implementing.

Appliances-Cloud services relationship.


Now  let’s talk about the different appliances we will need to deploy in our infrastructure to connect to the variety of subscription services VMware has available.

For the purpose of this blog, and for ease of understanding, we have categorized them in four areas, based on their use cases:

  • Cloud Infrastructure
  • Proactive Intelligence & Support
  • Cloud Management & Automation
  • Migration & Disaster Recovery


Cloud Infrastructure

In this category we have the vSphere+, vSAN+, and VCF+ services.  When they are implemented, we will gain the benefits of subscription services, and a cloud-based single pane of glass, while still running our workloads on premises.  

We are also including the use case of Hybrid Linked Mode with the cloud gateway appliance, one of the possible scenarios when using VMC on AWS.  It is important to note that one unique vCenter Cloud Gateway instance cannot be used for both Hybrid Linked Mode and vSphere+. You would need to deploy at least two different appliances to enable both functionalities at the same time, if such architecture is ever to be implemented.


Appliance Name





vCenter Cloud Gateway Appliance

Serves as a communication bridge between vCenter(s) and VMware Cloud Services. The Cloud gateway appliance will communicate with the respective vCenters, and will transfer the inventory, log, performance, and consumption data required to the cloud, through a secure channel. 

No internal workload data will be transferred. 

VMware Cloud on AWS

vCenter Cloud Gateway Appliance

Enables Hybrid Linked Mode between local vCenters and VMC vCenters to facilitate management and workload migration. 


If you would like to know more about the vCenter Cloud Gateway appliance secure connectivity, Staff Technical Marketing Architect Dave Morera has created a video diving into this topic.



Proactive Intelligence & Support

Although officially part of the cloud management realm,  this simple but powerful proactive intelligence service deserves its own category. 

Note: Skyline Advisor should not be confused with Skyline Health Diagnostics. Although both of them ease the identification of issues by analyzing behavioral records, the first is a comprehensive proactive cloud service that provides recommendations for a variety set of products.


Appliance Name


Skyline Advisor

Skyline Collector

Collects and sends product configuration and performance data to Skyline Advisor Service.


Cloud Management & Automation

In this category we have grouped the members of the VMware  Aria Suite. 


Appliance Name


VMware Aria Automation SaaS

Cloud Proxy

Interconnects with traditional local instances, to provide:

  • Data Collection.
  • Information routing.


VMware Aria Automation SaaS

Cloud Extensibility Proxy

On-Premises FaaS Provider, used for:

  • Integration with services such as Active Directory.
  • Extensibility actions
  • Enables VMware Aria Orchestrator.


VMware Aria Operations SaaS

Cloud Proxy

Unidirectional data collection (metrics) from traditional on-premise sources.

VMware Aria Operations for Logs SaaS

Cloud Proxy

Unidirectional data collection (logs) from local monitored services.

VMware Aria Operations for Networks SaaS

Collector (also known as Proxy)

Unidirectional data collection from local services such as vCenter, NSX-T, and HCX; VMware Cloud or VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud.


As you can notice, plenty of the appliances in this category share the Cloud Proxy name. However, they are different, and at least one Cloud Proxy per product will be required. In most cases, an appropriate sizing is needed to achieve the best performance.

Basic functionality of VMware Aria Automation may be used without the need of deploying a cloud proxy, when a series of requirements are met. Such as, when used in conjunction with vSphere+ and only within the scope of that vSphere+ environment. 


Migration & Disaster Recovery.


Appliance Name



HCX+ Site Manager


Endpoints for source/destination cloud interconnection and network extension.

This is a particular case where a second connector could be required.


HSM Connector

Connects the source/legacy vCenter Server to the destination cloud.


HSM Cloud

Servers as the endpoint in the destination target.

It is deployed automatically in the case where you are migrating/interconnecting to a VMC cloud.

VMWare Cloud Disaster Recovery

DRaaS Connector

Data Replication from protected workloads to the Cloud File System.



To illustrate the concepts mentioned, let's draw a diagram showing a basic use case with the following services deployed:

  • One single On-premises site.
  • One single vCenter.
  • VMware Aria Automation Cloud.
  • VMware Aria Operations Cloud.
  • One VCDR Cloud File System enabled.
  • All the services mentioned in this articled activated under same Cloud Services ORG.


Conceptual Diagram Example



Implementing a hybrid cloud could be a bit confusing. We hope this post has provided some light on the different appliances required for our cloud services.  



In this blog we have listed some of the most common products that you would need to have deployed for the most typical use cases of cloud interconnection. Diagrams are for reference only. The specific architecture required for a particular use case must be carefully planned. VMware is constantly improving their products. As a result, the naming, functionality or requirements might vary over time.


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