Imagine your rapidly growing business needing to expand from a single region in the United States to three regions across the globe. And you need to achieve this within two weeks to be ahead of the competition. Is this possible?
For enterprise-level networks, you’ll need high speed, low latency, low packet loss connections — VPN + internet is not an option. Here’s what you may face today. First, a bunch of dedicated lines (DL) need to be rented from cloud service providers or ISPs. Usually this step alone could take up to several months.
If there is no in-house networking expertise available, you may have to hire a few network architects or sign a contract with a reliable external party. Even with the expertise, international route configuration for each link could take a few days. To create a full-mesh global network, such as interconnecting 4 global nodes with 6 lines, you’ll need to repeat the above process 6 times!
In reality, it’s highly possible that several DL segments instead of one DL connect two regions, given the complexity of cross-region network design. In the end, building such global enterprise network could take several months instead of two weeks.
What is Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN)?
Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) is an enterprise class network on Alibaba Cloud that enables organizations to connect their VPCs and on premise networks across regions within a couple of minutes.
To better understand CEN, let’s take a look at some of its key elements:
A CEN instance is the basic resource for creating and managing your global network. You can add network instances into the CEN, and purchase a bandwidth package that can be shared by the cross-regions links connecting two districts.
Network instances are the network resources that can be connected using CEN. The network instances attached to a CEN instance can communicate with each other. The supported network instance types are VPC and virtual border router (vBR).
A bandwidth package is required only for cross-regional communication. Same region communication is free of charge and does not require a bandwidth package. When purchasing a bandwidth package, you need to specify the two interconnected districts that include the network resources to communicate with one another.
A district is a collection of Alibaba Cloud regions, and consists of one or more regions. Interconnection districts are two districts where the network resources to be connected are located. The table lists the districts and their respective regions.
Four Key Features of CEN
CEN significantly improves today’s global enterprise network building practice from these four dimensions.
CEN radically simplifies network architecting. Personnel without deep knowledge on networking can build a global enterprise class network with confidence. It takes just 4 simple steps to establish the network. Global network construction cycle is shortened from several months to a couple of minutes.
Redundant Links and Disaster Recovery
CEN features high availability and network redundancy. There are at least four groups of independent redundant links between any two access points. Even if some of the links experience interruptions, CEN ensures service continuity without network jitter or packet loss.
Nearby Access and Shortest-Path Connection
CEN has deployed multiple access and forwarding nodes in more than 60 POP regions around the world to facilitate quick access to Alibaba Cloud. The global network infrastructure improves QoS, bypassing the internet. Additionally, CEN uses the shortest path to quickly connect local data centers with the Alibaba Cloud network.
Built upon Alibaba’s global backbone network, CEN is an existing full mesh network in the cloud ready for use. By adding network resources into CEN, users can establish an interconnected global network instantly. Traditionally network administrators need to build a corporate network from scratch — connect the 4 sites as in the example with 6 individual DLs and configure them one by one.
Another feature of CEN is dynamic route learning. As mentioned before, a cross-region link may consist of several DLs. As opposed to today’s manual configuration approach, CEN learns the BGP routes dynamically to achieve network convergence within seconds.
How Do I Purchase CEN?
CEN will be available in limited preview on Apr 3rd and you can request for access by clicking on this link. The interconnection of network instances in the same region is free of charge. To interconnect network instances in different regions, customers need to buy a bandwidth package in subscription billing method.