Run intranet-like services in the cloud…

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Introducing Alibaba Cloud Express Connect

If you have cloud-based networks in multiple Alibaba Cloud regions, how do you allow them to communicate securely? If you have a hybrid infrastructure in which you need to link on-premises systems to servers in the cloud, how do you do it? The answer in both cases might well be Express Connect. Alibaba Cloud Express Connect is a network service which provides a fast, stable, secure and private or dedicated network communication between different cloud environments, including VPC intranet communication and dedicated leased line connections across regions and users.

You Have a Hybrid System — You Need Connectivity

At first glance, it’s easy to appreciate why cloud computing could be the answer to any company’s IT needs. A shiny new virtual data center with virtual servers, switches and routers, running remotely on hardware that you don’t need to manage. Or fix. Or depreciate in the annual accounts. Or upgrade. Or build an air-conditioned room for. Or pay for from the CapEx budget.

Pan Region

Cloud providers employ what are known as deployment regions. Alibaba Cloud, for example, currently has seven deployment regions in the north, east and south of Mainland China, as well as Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Frankfurt, Silicon Valley and Virginia. So you can host in the location that’s most suitable for your business and its needs.

Hybrid Databases

One very common way in which companies are gradually migrating key services to the cloud is with hybrid databases. The database server and engine remain in-house, running perhaps Oracle or SQL Server or MySQL. The non-system databases themselves get moved out to the cloud. Either on standard file servers running Windows or Linux, or more dedicated facilities such as Object Storage Service or Network Attached Storage. In the case of Alibaba Cloud, these services mean that you can create large storage areas online instead of having to purchase and maintain an expensive on-premises SAN.

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Cross-Account Communication

Not all company or corporate structures are straightforward, especially after a period of mergers, acquisitions or expansion. There may be two branches of the company, each with their own Alibaba Cloud account that contains one or more VPCs. Or maybe a company with its own Alibaba Cloud account and VPC wants to allow limited access to their resources by a trusted third-party such as a reseller, strategic partner or auditor. Again, Express Connect enables private network communication between VPCs in any region, avoiding unstable public networks and reducing the risk of data interception.

Benefits of Express Connect

Using Express Connect to bridge the connection between VPCs, or between customer premises and a VPC, brings a number of benefits. Perhaps the most important is high-speed intercommunication.

Summary

Moving an existing data center to the cloud is (and indeed needs to be) a long process, requiring lengthy periods of planning, experimentation and pilot projects. A Big Bang approach, with the entire migration taking place at one time, is impractical in all but a handful of cases, so you need to find a way to stagger it. Perhaps to ensure that you can gradually move services across at times that suit the organization (such as during major holidays).

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