New – AWS Direct Connect Gateway – Inter-Region VPC Access
As I was preparing to write this post, I took a nostalgic look at the blog post I wrote when we launched AWS Direct Connect back in 2012. We created Direct Connect after our enterprise customers asked us to allow them to establish dedicated connections to an AWS Region in pursuit of enhanced privacy, additional data transfer bandwidth, and more predictable data transfer performance. Starting from one AWS Region and a single colo, Direct Connect is now available in every public AWS Region and accessible from dozens of colos scattered across the world (over 60 locations at last count). Our customers have taken to Direct Connect wholeheartedly and we have added features such as Link Aggregation, Amazon EFS support, CloudWatch monitoring, and HIPAA eligibility. In the past five weeks alone we have added Direct Connect locations in Houston (Texas), Vancouver (Canada), Manchester (UK), Canberra (Australia), and Perth (Australia).
Today we are making Direct Connect simpler and more powerful with the addition of the Direct Connect Gateway. We are also giving Direct Connect customers in any Region the ability to create public virtual interfaces that receive our global IP routes and enable access to the public endpoints for our services and updating the Direct Connect pricing model.
Let’s take a look at each one!
New Direct Connect Gateway
You can use the new Direct Connect Gateway to establish connectivity that spans Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) spread across multiple AWS Regions. You no longer need to establish multiple BGP sessions for each VPC; this reduces your administrative workload as well as the load on your network devices.
This feature also allows you to connect to any of the participating VPCs from any Direct Connect location, further reducing your costs for making using AWS services on a cross-region basis.
Here is a diagram that illustrates the simplification that you can achieve with a Direct Connect Gateway (each “lock” icon represents a Virtual Private Gateway). Start with this:
And end up like this:
The VPCs that reference a particular Direct Connect Gateway must have IP address ranges that do not overlap. Today, the VPCs must all be in the same AWS account; we plan to make this more flexible in the future.
Each Gateway is a global object that exists across all of the public AWS Regions. All communication between the Regions via the Gateways takes place across the AWS network backbone.
I open the Direct Connect Console and click on Direct Connect Gateways to get started:
The list is empty since I don’t have any Gateways yet. Click on Create Direct Connect Gateway to change that:
I give my Gateway a name, enter a private ASN for my network, then click on Create. The ASN (Autonomous System Number) must be in one of the ranges defined as private in RFC 6996:
My new Gateway will appear in the other AWS Regions within a moment or two:
I have a Direct Connect Connection in Ohio that I will use to create my VIF:
Now I create a private VIF that references the Gateway and the Connection:
It is ready to use within seconds:
I already have a pair of VPCs with non-overlapping CIDRs, and a Virtual Private Gateway attached to each one. Here are the VPCs (since this is a demo I’ll show both in the same Region for convenience):
And the Virtual Private Gateways:
I return to the Direct Connect Console and navigate to the Direct Connect Gateways. I select my Gateway and choose Associate Virtual Private Gateway from the Actions menu:
Then I select both of my Virtual Private Gateways and click on Associate:
If, as would usually be the case, my VPCs are in distinct AWS Regions, the same procedure would apply. For this blog post it was easier to show you the operations once rather than twice.
The Virtual Gateway association is complete within a minute or so (the state starts out as associating):
When the state transitions to associated, traffic can flow between your on-premises network and your VPCs, over your AWS Direct Connect connection, regardless of the AWS Regions where your VPCs reside.
Public Virtual Interfaces for Service Endpoints
You can now create Public Virtual Interfaces that will allow you to access AWS public service endpoints for AWS services running in any AWS Region (except AWS China Region) over Direct Connect. These interfaces receive (via BGP) Amazon’s global IP routes. You can create these interfaces in the Direct Connect Console; start by selecting the Public option:
Updated Pricing Model
In light of the ever-expanding number of AWS Regions and AWS Direct Connect locations, data transfer pricing is now based on the location of the Direct Connect and the source AWS Region. The new pricing is simpler that the older model which was based on AWS Direct Connect locations.
This new feature is available today and you can start to use it right now. You can create and use Direct Connect Gateways at no charge; you pay the usual Direct Connect prices for port hours and data transfer.