Getting Started with AWS Direct Connect
AWS Direct Connect enables AWS users to perform significant data transfer using a dedicated private connection from their premises to AWS. AWS customers with high data transfer costs should look into the viability of using Direct Connect. Pricing is substantially lower than with public Internet connectivity – often at as little as 1/8th of the current cost. Users have a choice of 1 Gbit or 10 Gbit over a direct fiber cross-connect, which is faster, cheaper, and more secure.
Amazon partners with providers in a number of locations to deliver its Direct Connect service. These partners provide cross-connect services from your premises to the AWS Direct Connect service. AWS customers can also buy a link from a number of carriers. Using AWS to transfer large amounts of data (terabytes per month) from your own hosting environment can be very cost effective.
It seems that Direct Connect is still not so popular among enterprises that use AWS cloud even though it is a great secure alternative to VPC. Enterprises should be aware of this option and should run proof of concept (POC). Direct Connect facilitates the deployment of a hybrid cloud model by using the enterprise internal resources for storing the critical data (due to security and compliance matters) and utilizing the AWS resources to support the application front-end workloads.
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Regarding performance, it will depend on how the customer chooses to connect. For Direct Connect customers who are in the same data center or metro, they will provision a dedicated 1 Gbit or 10 Gbit fiber connection directly to Amazon. This typically will have < 1ms latency, which is generally much faster than any Layer 3 IP connection, even over short distances. It is also dedicated and secure, and the user does not pay for IP transit. For customers who are not in the same data center or metro, they can provision a Layer 2 Ethernet circuit from their premises to a data center providing AWS Direct Connect. In this case, latency will depend on the distance. Customers will pay the network provider for the circuit capacity, but this cost will usually be offset by savings in data transfer costs.
Information on how to provision AWS Direct Connect can be found in the “Getting Started” section of Amazon’s Direct Connect website. Typical circuit provisioning is less than one week, making it easy to get a POC up and running. If you find it doesn’t meet your needs, you can simply request that the connection be terminated and billing will stop.
About the author
Ephraim Baron, Director of Enterprise Cloud Solutions at Equinix
He has more than 20 years of experience in IT infrastructure design and management at companies ranging from start-ups to global corporations. Equinix is one of the leading vendors that partnered with Amazon cloud to support Direct Connect integration for enterprise customers. AWS Direct Connect Equinix Whitepaper
Keywords: amazon cloud services, cloud cost, performance, EC2, AWS Direct Connect, S3, data transfer, out-going traffic costs, amazon cloud usage, best practices, VPC, Latency