Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most widely used cloud platforms. AWS provides on-demand cloud computing and APIs on a metered, pay-as-you-go basis.
One of AWS' key features is Direct Connect which provides a reliable and secure connection to cloud services. Direct Connect is a dedicated network connection between the client's on-premises data center and the AWS cloud services, which bypasses the public internet.
This article will provide information about AWS Direct Connect locations, cover the basics and advantages of using AWS Direct Connect, and list available locations.
What Are AWS Direct Connect Locations?
AWS Direct Connect locations are Amazon's data center facilities that provide the Direct Connect service. The locations are strategically distributed across major cities in the world to provide high-speed, low-latency connections for workloads that require a higher speed or lower latency than the Internet.
Use the Direct Connect locations to establish a dedicated network connection to one or more AWS regions. One Direct Connect location provides access to AWS in its associated Region. Alternatively, a single connection in a public Region or AWS GovCloud (US) can be used to access public AWS services in all other public regions.
There are currently over 100 Direct Connect locations in the world, across five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Choosing the location geographically closest to your on-premises infrastructure minimizes network latency and ensures the best performance.
Note: Select a Bare Metal Cloud server from phoenixNAP and connect to AWS services using AWS Direct Connect.
How do AWS Direct Connect Locations Work?
AWS Direct Connect works by providing a dedicated physical connection between the client's on-premises infrastructure and AWS cloud services. To establish the connection, AWS uses a network circuit available through a fiber-optic cable or a cross-connect. The traffic bypasses the public Internet, thus creating a reliable, fast, low-latency, and secure connection to AWS services.
For example, one end of the cable goes into the router, and the other end is connected to an AWS Direct Connect Router. The connection allows users to create a virtual interface connected directly to public AWS services, thus bypassing the ISP in the network path.
The following diagram is an example of Direct Connect:
The Direct Connect location acts as a secure midpoint between the user and the AWS services. To ensure high availability, AWS recommends using more than one location.
Direct Connect locations are equipped with various networking and security features that ensure optimal performance and high security. Some of the features are:
- High-speed networking equipment.
- Redundant power and cooling systems.
- On-site physical security.
AWS Direct Connect locations also allow users to establish connections to multiple AWS regions. Such connections facilitate workload distribution across multiple regions or provide access to services available only in some regions.
What Connection Methods Exist?
AWS Direct Connect offers multiple connection methods to suit different networking requirements and infrastructures. The available methods are:
- Dedicated Connection. A dedicated connection is a physical Ethernet connection that links the client's on-premises infrastructure with AWS services. This is a private, high-bandwidth, and low-latency connection, and it can be configured as a point-to-point or point-to-multipoint connection.
- Hosted Connection. A hosted connection is a virtual connection to AWS Direct Connect created on a third-party infrastructure owned by the network provider. It is an alternative to dedicated connections. Hosted connections allow customers to pay for the network port speed they need without having to purchase networking equipment.
- Hosted Virtual Interface. A virtual interface created on a Direct Connect connection owned by a third-party network provider. It allows users to utilize the network provider's infrastructure to connect to AWS resources.
- AWS Direct Connect Gateway. The Direct Connect Gateway enables users to connect their Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) located in different AWS regions to a Direct Connect connection at an AWS Direct Connect location.
- Transit Virtual Interface. Transit virtual interfaces allow users to connect their on-premises networks to multiple VPCs in different AWS regions through a single Direct Connect connection.
Which One Should You Use?
The best connection method for you depends on multiple factors, including the networking requirements, available infrastructure, and your budget.
Make sure to consider your business needs and different factors such as data transfer volumes and frequency, and the geographic location of your resources. It is also advisable to consult an AWS solution architect or AWS partner to determine which connection method suits your use case.
What AWS Direct Connect Locations are Available at phoenixNAP?
phoenixNAP allows you to establish a Direct Connect connection using its enterprise-grade data centers in multiple locations around the world. You can also leverage AWS Direct Connect using your own on-premises infrastructure through any of the multiple AWS partner network providers located in our carrier-neutral facility.
The following table contains a list of all AWS Direct Connect locations available at phoenixNAP:
What are the Benefits of Using a Provider with AWS Direct Connect?
There are multiple benefits to using a provider with AWS Direct Connect, including:
- Reliability. AWS Direct Connect creates a dedicated, private connection between the client's on-premises infrastructure and AWS which bypasses the public Internet. Working with a provider ensures that the connection is stable and reliable and guarantees low latency.
- High Bandwidth. Some providers offer bandwidth options higher than AWS Direct Connect. The default bandwidth ranges from 1-10 Gbps, while providers allow you to scale your network.
- Flexibility. Using a provider offers multiple deployment options, such as connecting to multiple AWS regions or multiple virtual private clouds (VPCs). Providers can also help come up with a solution for your specific requirements.
- Simplified Management. Using a provider helps overcome the complexities of AWS Direct Connect, including the configuration and maintenance of the connection, routers, and switches. When the provider deals with such tasks, your IT team can focus on other matters.
- Cost-saving. Depending on your network traffic patterns and usage, a provider can be more cost-effective than using AWS Direct Connect on your own. Providers usually create custom prices based on your specific needs, and they can help optimize your network usage to reduce costs.
AWS Direct Connect locations offer businesses a reliable and secure way to connect to AWS cloud services. The connection is dedicated and bypasses the public Internet, which provides a faster and more consistent network performance, as well as better security.
As the cloud is becoming the preferred choice for workload storage, the importance of a reliable and secure connection is becoming increasingly important. AWS Direct Connect is an excellent solution to achieve that goal.