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AWS Direct Connect

  • Using Direct Connect, data can now be delivered through a private network connection between AWS and your datacenter or corporate network.
  • Direct Connect links your internal network to a Direct Connect location over a standard Ethernet fiber-optic cable. One end of the cable is connected to your router, the other to a Direct Connect router. With this connection, you can create virtual interfaces directly to public AWS services or to Amazon VPC.
  • 1Gbps and 10Gbps ports are available.
  • Supports hosted connection capacities of 1, 2, 5 and 10 Gbps. 1, 2, 5 and 10 Gbps hosted connections will provide customers with higher capacities that were previously only available via dedicated connections.
  • Amazon Direct Connect also supports AWS Transit Gateway, aside from configuring Site-to-Site VPN connections. With this feature, customers can connect thousands of Amazon VPCs in multiple AWS Regions to their on-premises networks using 1/2/5/10 Gbps AWS Direct Connect connections.

AWS Training AWS Direct Connect

Beneficial Use Cases

    • When transferring large data sets.
    • When developing and using applications that use real-time data feeds.
    • When building hybrid environments that satisfy regulatory requirements requiring the use of private connectivity.

Setting Up Methods

Port speed

Method

1 Gbps or higher

Connect directly to an AWS device from your router at an AWS Direct Connect location.

1 Gbps or higher

Work with a partner in the AWS Partner Network or a network provider to connect a router from your data center, office, or colocation environment to an AWS Direct Connect location. The network provider does not have to be a member of the APN to connect you.

Less than 1 Gbps

Work with a partner in the AWS Partner Network who can create a hosted connection for you. Sign up for AWS and then follow the instructions to accept your hosted connection.

Components

    • Connections – Create a connection in an AWS Direct Connect location to establish a network connection from your premises to an AWS Region. From Direct Connect you can connect to all AZs within the region.
    • Virtual interfaces – Create a virtual interface to enable access to AWS services. A public virtual interface enables access to public services, such as S3. A private virtual interface enables access to your VPC.
  • To access public resources in a remote Region, you must set up a public virtual interface and establish a Border Gateway Protocol session.
  • You can create a Direct Connect gateway in any public Region. Use it to connect your Direct Connect connection over a private virtual interface to VPCs in your account that are located in different Regions.
  • To provide for failover, request and configure two dedicated connections to AWS. These connections can terminate on one or two routers in your network. There are different configuration choices available:
    • Active/Active (BGP multipath) – This is the default configuration, where both connections are active. If one connection becomes unavailable, all traffic is routed through the other connection.
    • Active/Passive (failover) – One connection is handling traffic, and the other is on standby. If the active connection becomes unavailable, all traffic is routed through the passive connection.
  • Autonomous System numbers (ASN) are used to identify networks that present a clearly defined external routing policy to the Internet.
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Cross Connects

    • After you have downloaded your Letter of Authorization and Connecting Facility Assignment (LOA-CFA), you must complete your cross-network connection, also known as a cross connect.
    • If you already have equipment located in a Direct Connect location, contact the appropriate provider to complete the cross connect.
    • If you do not already have equipment located in a Direct Connect location, you can work with one of the partners in the AWS Partner Network to help you to connect to an AWS Direct Connect location.

Virtual Interfaces

    • You must create a virtual interface to begin using your Direct Connect connection.
    • You can configure multiple virtual interfaces on a single AWS Direct Connect connection.
      • For private virtual interfaces, you need one private virtual interface for each VPC to connect to from the AWS Direct Connect connection, or you can use a AWS Direct Connect gateway.
    • Prerequisites
      • Connection: The Direct Connect connection or link aggregation group for which you are creating the virtual interface.
      • Virtual interface name: A name for the virtual interface.
      • Virtual interface owner
      • (Private virtual interface only) Connection to
      • VLAN: A unique virtual local area network tag that’s not already in use on your connection.
      • Address family: Whether the BGP peering session will be over IPv4 or IPv6.
      • Peer IP addresses: A virtual interface can support a BGP peering session for IPv4, IPv6, or one of each (dual-stack). You cannot create multiple BGP sessions for the same IP addressing family on the same virtual interface
      • BGP information: A public or private Border Gateway Protocol Autonomous System Number for your side of the BGP session, and an MD5 BGP authentication key.
      • (Public virtual interface only) Prefixes you want to advertise: Public IPv4 routes or IPv6 routes to advertise over BGP. You must advertise at least one prefix using BGP.
    • The maximum transmission unit (MTU) of a network connection is the size, in bytes, of the largest permissible packet that can be passed over the connection. The MTU of a virtual private interface can be either 1500 or 9001 (jumbo frames). The MTU of a transit virtual interface for VPC Transit Gateways associated with Direct Connect gateways can be either 1500 or 8500 (jumbo frames). A public virtual interface doesn’t support jumbo frames.
    • Jumbo frames are supported on virtual private interfaces attached to a virtual private gateway or a Direct Connect gateway. Jumbo frames apply only to propagated routes from Direct Connect.

Link Aggregation Groups (LAG)

    • A logical interface that uses the Link Aggregation Control Protocol to aggregate multiple connections at a single Direct Connect endpoint, allowing you to treat them as a single, managed connection.
    • All connections in the LAG must use the same bandwidth.
    • You can have a maximum of four connections in a LAG. Each connection in the LAG counts towards your overall connection limit for the Region.
    • All connections in the LAG must terminate at the same Direct Connect endpoint.
    • Can aggregate up to 4 Direct Connect ports into a single connection using LAG.
    • All connections in a LAG operate in Active/Active mode.
    • It will only be available for dedicated 1G and 10G connections.

Direct Connect Gateways

    • Use a Direct Connect gateway to connect your Direct Connect connection over a private virtual interface to one or more VPCs in your account that are located in the same or different Regions.
    • It is a globally available resource.
    • Direct Connect gateway also enables you to connect between your on-premises networks and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) in any commercial AWS Region except in China regions.
    • Prior to multi-account support, you could only associate Amazon VPCs with a Direct Connect gateway in the same AWS account. With the launch of multi-account support for Direct Connect gateway, you can associate up to 10 Amazon VPCs from multiple accounts with a Direct Connect gateway. The VPCs must be owned by AWS Accounts that belong to the same AWS payer account ID.

Security

    • Use IAM for controlling access.

Monitoring

    • You can optionally assign tags to your Direct Connect resources to categorize or manage them. A tag consists of a key and an optional value, both of which you define.
    • CloudTrail captures all API calls for AWS Direct Connect as events.
    • Set up CloudWatch alarms to monitor metrics.

Pricing

    • You pay only for the network ports you use and the data you transfer over the connection.
    • Pricing is per port-hour consumed for each port type. Data transfer out over AWS Direct Connect is charged per GB. Data transfer IN is $0.00 per GB in all locations.

AWS Direct Connect Deep Dive:

AWS Direct Connect-related Cheat Sheets:

Note: If you are studying for the AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty exam, we highly recommend that you take our AWS Certified Advanced Networking – Specialty Practice Exams and read our Advanced Networking Specialty exam study guide.

AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty Practice Exams

Validate Your Knowledge

Question 1

A leading insurance firm has a VPC in the US East (N. Virginia) region for their head office in New York and another VPC in the US West (N. California) for their regional office in California. There is a requirement to establish a low latency, high-bandwidth connection between their on-premises data center in Chicago and both of their VPCs in AWS.

As the SysOps Administrator of the firm, how could you implement this in a cost-effective manner?

  1. Establish a Direct Connect connection between the VPC in US East (N. Virginia) region to the on-premises data center in Chicago and then establish another Direct Connect connection between the VPC in US West (N. California) region to the on-premises data center.
  2. Set up an AWS Direct Connect gateway with a virtual private gateway.
  3. Set up an AWS VPN managed connection between the VPC in US East (N. Virginia) region and the on-premises data center in Chicago.
  4. Set up two separate VPC peering connections for the two VPCs and for the on-premises data center.

Correct Answer: 2

You can use an AWS Direct Connect gateway to connect your AWS Direct Connect connection over a private virtual interface to one or more VPCs in your account that are located in the same or different regions. You associate a Direct Connect gateway with the virtual private gateway for the VPC, and then create a private virtual interface for your AWS Direct Connect connection to the Direct Connect gateway. You can attach multiple private virtual interfaces to your Direct Connect gateway. A Direct Connect gateway is a globally available resource. You can create the Direct Connect gateway in any public region and access it from all other public regions.

Establishing a Direct Connect connection between the VPC in US East (N. Virginia) region to the on-premises data center in Chicago and then establishing another Direct Connect connection between the VPC in US West (N. California) region to the on-premises data center is incorrect because establishing two separate Direct Connect connections is expensive and hence, not a cost-effective option. It is better to establish a Direct Connect gateway instead which just uses one Direct Connect connection to integrate the 2 VPCs and the on-premises data center.

Setting up an AWS VPN managed connection between the VPC in US East (N. Virginia) region and the on-premises data center in Chicago is incorrect because a VPN Connection is a more suitable solution for low to modest bandwidth requirements and can tolerate the inherent variability in Internet-based connectivity.

Setting up two separate VPC peering connections for the two VPCs and for the on-premises data center is incorrect because VPC Peering is used to connect 2 VPC’s together and not to connect your on-premises data center.

Reference:
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/directconnect/latest/UserGuide/direct-connect-gateways.html

Note: This question was extracted from our AWS Certified SysOps Administrator Associate Practice Exams.

Question 2

A company has a hybrid cloud infrastructure that consists of its Amazon VPC in the us-east-1 (N. Virginia) Region and its corporate network. A single 10-Gbps AWS Direct Connect connection with multiple private virtual interfaces has been established to allow EC2 instances to send data to the on-premises file storage servers. The Network Administrator has been tasked to ensure high resiliency to common connectivity failures which will support the critical production workloads.

What must the Administrator do to satisfy this requirement?

  1. Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Direct Connect connection to another AWS Direct Connect location.
  2. Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Direct Connect connection to the existing AWS Direct Connect location.
  3. Tutorials Dojo Study Guide and Cheatsheet
  4. Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Managed VPN connection between the VPC and the on-premises network.
  5. Launch a Direct Connect Gateway that connects two public virtual interfaces in the us-east-1 (N. Virginia) Region to the on-premises network.

Correct Answer: 1

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers customers the ability to achieve highly resilient network connections between Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) and their on-premises infrastructure. This capability extends customer access to AWS resources in a reliable, scalable, and cost-effective way.

You can achieve maximum resiliency for critical workloads by using separate connections that terminate on separate devices in more than one location:

Highly resilient, fault-tolerant network connections are key to a well-architected system. AWS recommends connecting from multiple data centers for physical location redundancy. When designing remote connections, consider using redundant hardware and telecommunications providers. If you are only using a single AWS Direct Connect location, you have to create another Direct Connect connection to another AWS Direct Connect location to improve the connection resiliency.

Additionally, it is a best practice to use dynamically routed, active/active connections for automatic load balancing, and failover across redundant network connections. Provision sufficient network capacity to ensure that the failure of one network connection does not overwhelm and degrade redundant connections.

Hence, the correct answer is: Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Direct Connect connection to another AWS Direct Connect location.

The option that says: Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Direct Connect connection to the existing AWS Direct Connect location is incorrect because this setup does not provide high resiliency. If the single AWS Direct Connect location goes down, then there would be no way for the on-premises network to connect to the VPC and vice versa.

The option that says: Create a second 10-Gbps AWS Managed VPN connection between the VPC and the on-premises network is incorrect because an AWS Managed VPN connection is not capable of reaching a throughput of 10-Gbps. Multiple VPN connections to the same Virtual Private Gateway are bound by an aggregate throughput limit from AWS to on-premises of up to 1.25 Gbps.

The option that says: Launch a Direct Connect Gateway that connects two public virtual interfaces in the us-east-1 (N. Virginia) Region to the on-premises network is incorrect because a Direct Connect gateway simply enables you to use your existing AWS Direct Connect connection to access VPCs in your account on two or more AWS Regions. Moreover, you have to use private virtual interfaces in Direct Connect Gateway and not public virtual interfaces.

References:
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/directconnect/latest/UserGuide/high_resiliency.html
https://aws.amazon.com/directconnect/resiliency-recommendation/

Note: This question was extracted from our AWS Certified Advanced Networking Specialty Practice Exams.

For more AWS practice exam questions with detailed explanations, visit the Tutorials Dojo Portal:

Tutorials Dojo AWS Practice Tests

References:
https://docs.aws.amazon.com/directconnect/latest/UserGuide
https://aws.amazon.com/directconnect/features/
https://aws.amazon.com/directconnect/pricing/
https://aws.amazon.com/directconnect/faqs/

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