Connect Environments with Alibaba Cloud Express Connect — Part 1

By Shantanu Kaushik

Connectivity is the basis of communication. Any successful enterprise demands unhinged connectivity between its peers. An enterprise solution requires a connectivity or network solution that isn’t futile. When connecting large network resources with one another, the network backbone must be highly reliable, scalable, and elastic.

Any business or enterprise makes a transition to achieve expansion. Business expansion directly refers to an increase in every aspect of an enterprise. It will include the technology stack, the personnel, teams, and other physical resources that are imperative for expansion. With a cloud setup, most of your computing resource is already managed by the cloud service provider. These cloud resources provide comparable (or better) performance than a physical data center while cutting costs at a greater level.

When it comes to the inter-networking side of things, an enterprise looks for a solution to connect multiple and cross-zoned network resources to form a wider network channel for uninterrupted business. Alibaba Cloud Express Connect can solve these issues.

In this article, we will discuss how Express Connect helps your cloud-based network resources communicate securely and reliably. These resources could be private or dedicated networks that require communication between the same or different cloud environments.

Express Connect | Alibaba Cloud

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect acts as a bridge between multiple networks over different cloud environment resources to form a wider network. It could be an on-premises data center at a location or cloud resources in different zones. Express Connect can build a high-performance communication gateway between these resources.

Let’s start by looking at the architecture that Express Connect works with:

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect will help you connect multiple VPCs with each other or connect an on-premises setup to a VPC. Express Connect provides fast, ultra-high-performance links between network resources. Driven by the Alibaba Cloud infrastructure, Express Connect ensures low latency and high-bandwidth links using the intranet as a channel. This accounts for a highly-reliable single unit infrastructure-based communication link.

Express Connect mimics a local deployment environment. If some of your resources are deployed on-premises, and others are deployed on the cloud, Alibaba Cloud Express Connect will provide a high-performance link and adjust performance so all of the resources will act as if they are locally available.

How Does It Work?

Alibaba Cloud utilizes the virtualization technology on the Alibaba Cloud tech stack. Alibaba Cloud offers seamless product integration throughout the solution line-up. This enables the user to leverage the benefits of multiple solutions without working with different SLAs or putting in additional resource management solutions to handle O&M and security.

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect removes the bottlenecks that public clouds might present during intercommunication between network resources. Express Connect establishes a highly secure and reliable link using its virtualization technology. You are also provided with a web-based control panel to manage all aspects of the service, including network configuration or service authorization.

Express Connect utilizes the Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network to connect Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) to on-premises data centers. It uses a gateway and virtual border router (VBR). The section below gives a short brief about Virtual Border Routers (VBR).

Virtual Border Router (VBR)

Virtual Border Routers are a switch virtualization tech that is used with a software defined network (SDN) architecture. A VBR is typically used between an on-premises network system and a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). The basic function of a VBR acts as a data forwarding bridge between a VPC and the on-premises data center.

Some of the functions of VBR are listed below:

  • Routing data packets between the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) and the on-premises data center
  • Supports and works with Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)
  • Automates the port handling functions during physical connections
  • Decodes the VLAN tags during connection

What About Multi-Region Connectivity?

Alibaba Cloud is spread globally across multiple regions, operating in 67 availability zones in 22 regions worldwide. Worldwide availability allows enterprises to expand into many regions utilizing the impeccable infrastructure offered by Alibaba Cloud.

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect provides a starting point for any enterprise that wishes to start a presence using Alibaba Cloud infrastructure in any region. A Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) is typically the first cloud tech initiation for any enterprise. It is all about setting up a virtual data center, and Alibaba Cloud Express Connect lets you do that easily.

Multiple Alibaba Cloud Accounts | Cross Comms

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect can bypass public networks and connect multiple VPCs with each other. Let’s take a look at the flow of information from multiple zones using Alibaba Cloud CEN, Alibaba Cloud VPC, and Express Connect on the chart below:

An enterprise in one region might expand or take over another similar enterprise in another region. Interconnection in such scenarios is taken care of with Alibaba Cloud Express Connect. It enables private network communication between Alibaba Cloud VPCs operating under different Alibaba Cloud accounts across zones and regions.

Wrapping Up

Setting up a new cloud is easy when using an Alibaba Cloud infrastructure-based cloud computing practice. You can use DevOps to accelerate software deployment and delivery, host a simple application with Simple Application Server, or use Web+ to take a step further into your development and deployment journey. Regardless of what you choose, you will always find a list of supporting products.

From setting up a Hybrid Cloud to migrating to the cloud, Alibaba Cloud ensures a swift and seamless user experience. There may be some planning and strategizing required, but with a technology stack as detailed and reliable as Alibaba Cloud, there nothing to worry about.

When it comes to networking and communication, Alibaba Cloud Network Solutions is a unique service that caters to a solution-based setup instead of just products.

In the next article of this series on Alibaba Cloud Express Connect, we will focus on the different use-case and implementation scenarios. We will talk about Express Connect in a hybrid cloud environment and discuss the structural scenario of connectivity between an on-premises data center and a VPC. We will also discuss complex business system connectivity.

Upcoming Articles

  1. Connect Environments with Alibaba Cloud Express Connect — Part 2: Use Cases

Original Source:

Follow me to keep abreast with the latest technology news, industry insights, and developer trends.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store