What is AWS Direct Connect?

AWS Direct Connect is a network service provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that establishes a dedicated and private connection between an on-premises data center or office location and the AWS cloud. This dedicated connection bypasses the public internet, providing a more reliable, lower-latency, and higher-throughput alternative for accessing AWS resources compared to typical internet connections.

Here is a technical breakdown of the key components and features of AWS Direct Connect:

  1. Connection Types:
    • Dedicated Connection: A physical Ethernet connection that can be 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps, and it can be provisioned as a standard connection or a dedicated port.
    • Hosted Connection: Provided by a Direct Connect Partner, where the connection is hosted on behalf of the customer.
  2. Locations:
    • AWS Direct Connect is available in various physical locations worldwide called Direct Connect locations. These locations are often co-located with AWS Direct Connect Partners, data centers, or carrier hotels.
  3. Virtual Interfaces:
    • After establishing a physical connection, one or more logical connections, called virtual interfaces (VIFs), can be created over the physical link.
    • Each VIF can be configured as a private virtual interface to connect to Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) resources or as a public virtual interface to connect to AWS public services (e.g., S3, DynamoDB) directly.
  4. BGP (Border Gateway Protocol):
    • BGP is used for the exchange of routing information between the on-premises network and AWS.
    • The customer's network advertises its routes to AWS, and AWS advertises its routes to the customer.
  5. Redundancy:
    • AWS Direct Connect provides options for redundancy to enhance reliability. Customers can establish multiple connections, either to the same Direct Connect location or to different locations, and configure them for high availability.
  6. Jumbo Frames:
    • Support for jumbo frames allows the transmission of larger Ethernet frames, which can improve network efficiency and reduce overhead.
  7. AWS Direct Connect Gateway:
    • The Direct Connect Gateway enables customers to connect their Direct Connect links to multiple VPCs in different AWS regions.
  8. Quality of Service (QoS):
    • Customers can prioritize different types of network traffic using 802.1Q VLAN tags, allowing for the implementation of Quality of Service policies.
  9. Monitoring and Metrics:
    • AWS Direct Connect provides monitoring and metrics through AWS CloudWatch, allowing users to track connection performance, bandwidth usage, and other relevant metrics.
  10. Security:
    • AWS Direct Connect ensures a secure connection by using industry-standard encryption protocols for data in transit. It also allows for private connectivity by bypassing the public internet.