AWS Official Blog

AWS Direct Connect

by Jeff Barr | on | in Amazon EC2, Amazon S3 |

The new AWS Direct Connect service allows enterprises to create a connection to an AWS Region via a dedicated network circuit. In addition to enhancing privacy, dedicated circuits will generally result in more predictable data transfer performance and will also increase bandwidth between your data center and AWS. Additionally, users of dedicated circuits will frequently see a net reduction in bandwidth costs.

AWS Direct Connect has one location available today, located at Equinixs Ashburn, Virginia colocation facility. From this location, you can connect to services in the AWS US-East (Virginia) region. Additional AWS Direct Connect locations are planned for San Jose, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, and Singapore in the next several months.

There are two ways to get started:

  • If you already have your own hardware in an Equinix data center in Ashburn, Virginia, you can simply ask them to create a cross-connect from your network to ours. They can generally get this set up in 72 hours or less.
  • If you don’t have hardware in this data center, you can work with one of the AWS Direct Connect solution providers (our initial list includes AboveNet, Equinix, and Level 3) to procure a circuit to the same datacenter or obtain colocation space. If you procure a circuit, the AWS Direct Connect solution provider will take care of the cross-connect for you.

You can select 1 Gbit or 10 Gbit networking for each connection, and you can create multiple connections for redundancy if you’d like. Each connection can be used to access all AWS services. It can also be used to connect to one or more Virtual Private Clouds.

Billing will be based on the number of ports and the speed of each one. Data transfer out of AWS across the circuit will be billed at $0.02 / GB (2 cents per GB). There is no charge for data transfer in to AWS.

I expect to see AWS Direct Connect used in a number of different scenarios. Here are a few of them:

  • Data Center Replacement – Migrate an existing data center to AWS and then use Direct Connect to link AWS to the corporate headquarters using a known private connection.
  • Custom Hosting – Place some custom network or storage devices in a facility adjacent to an AWS Region, and enjoy high bandwidth low latency access to the devices from AWS.
  • High Volume Data Transfer – Move extremely large amounts of data in and out of HPC-style applications.

In order to make the most of a dedicated high speed connection, you will want to look at a category of software often known as WAN optimization (e.g. Riverbed’s Cloud Steelhead) or high speed file transfer (e.g. Aspera’s On-Demand Direct for AWS). Late last month I saw a demonstration from Aspera. They showed me that that were able to achieve 700 Mbps of data transfer across a 1 Gbps line. At this rate they are able to transfer 5 Terabytes of data to AWS in 17 hours. 

– Jeff;