Using AWS Direct Connect for High Resiliency
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers customers the ability to achieve highly resilient network connections between Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) and their on-premises infrastructure. This capability extends customer access to AWS resources in a reliable, scalable, and cost-effective way. This page documents our best practices for ensuring high resiliency with AWS Direct Connect.
Recommended Best Practices
Highly resilient, fault-tolerant network connections are key to a well-architected system. AWS recommends connecting from multiple data centers for physical location redundancy. When designing remote connections, consider using redundant hardware and telecommunications providers. Additionally, it is a best practice to use dynamically routed, active/active connections for automatic load balancing and failover across redundant network connections. Provision sufficient network capacity to ensure that the failure of one network connection does not overwhelm and degrade redundant connections.
Keep the following topology guidelines in mind when connecting to AWS:
High Resiliency for Critical Workloads
For critical production workloads that require high resiliency, it is recommended to have one connection at multiple locations. As shown in the figure above, such a topology ensures resilience to connectivity failure due to a fiber cut or a device failure as well as a complete location failure. You can use AWS Direct Connect gateway to access any AWS Region (except AWS Regions in China) from any AWS Direct Connect location.
Maximum Resiliency for Critical Workloads
Maximum resilience is achieved by separate connections terminating on separate devices in more than one location. This configuration offers customers maximum resilience to failure. As shown in the figure above, such a topology provides resilience to device failure, connectivity failure, and complete location failure. You can use AWS Direct Connect gateway to access any AWS Region (except AWS Regions in China) from any AWS Direct Connect locations.
Non-Critical Production Workloads or Development Workloads
For non-critical production workloads and development workloads that do not require high resiliency, it is recommended to have at least two connections terminating on different devices at a single location. As shown in the figure above, such a topology helps in the case of the device failure at a location but does not help in the event of a total location failure.
For additional resiliency, customers can also explore the use of multi-region failover. This can be done using Transit Gateway Cross Region peering and Direct Connect Gateway. One such implementation is explained in this blog.
AWS Site to Site VPN connections as a backup for the Direct Connect
Some AWS customers would like the benefits of one or more AWS Direct Connect connections for their primary connectivity to AWS, coupled with a lower-cost backup connection. To achieve this objective, they can establish AWS Direct Connect connections with a VPN backup.
It is important to understand that AWS Site to Site VPN supports up to 1.25 Gbps throughput per VPN tunnel and does not support Equal Cost Multi Path (ECMP) for egress data path in the case of multiple AWS Site to Site VPN tunnels terminating on the same VGW. Thus, we do not recommend customers use AWS Site to Site VPN as a backup for AWS Direct Connect connections with speeds greater than 1 Gbps.
For additional resiliency, AWS customers can consider using AWS Site to Site VPN terminating on an AWS Transit Gateway as a back up to their AWS Direct Connect connections. Using AWS Site to Site VPN with Transit Gateway, you can ECMP traffic across multiple VPN tunnels to achieve up to 50Gbps. It is important to note that single VPN tunnel bandwidth is still limited to 1.25 Gbps.
Recommendation for AWS Direct Connect Partner selection
AWS Direct Connect Partners help customers establish network connectivity between AWS Direct Connect locations and their data centers, offices or colocation environments. When selecting AWS Direct Connect Partners, consider a dual-vendor approach, if financially feasible, to ensure private-network diversity. When planning your connectivity, work with your selected Partner(s) to determine which of the above best practices are right for your needs, and learn how your selected Partner(s) can enable you to achieve them.
AWS recommends customers use multiple dynamically routed, rather than statically routed, connections to AWS at multiple AWS Direct Connect locations. This will allow remote connections to fail overautomatically. Dynamic routing also enables remote connections to automatically leverage available preferred routes, if applicable, to the on-premises network. Highly resilient connections requireredundant hardware, even when connecting from the same physical location. Avoid relying on a single on-premises device connecting to a single AWS Direct Connect device. Consider using AWS Site to Site VPN terminating on an AWS Transit Gateway as a backup for your mission critical workloads. You can also consider multi-region failover with Transit Gateway Cross Region Peering and Direct Connect Gateway.
Discover more AWS Direct Connect resources