Direct connection to the cloud: Comparing AWS, Google and Azure

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Cloud connectivity has skyrocketed in the past few years, considerably boosted by the pandemic and our need to work remotely. As such, businesses are considering ways to enhance their connectivity to their cloud providers and are increasingly turning to private direct connectivity. Before we compare three major cloud providers' direct connection capabilities, here is a reminder of the benefits of establishing private/direct connection to your cloud.

Benefits of direct connection

1. Security

Connecting to cloud providers via direct interconnection limits the points of network access. Point-to-point connectivity in itself is a security advantage. Security policies across networks are more easily maintained as a result of the simplicity of a direct connection.

2. Performance

Private connectivity means there are fewer hops to a destination and bypasses the public internet. This increases bandwidth throughput and lowers latency. It also presents a more consistent network experience compared to public internet-based connections. This results in elevated application performance and a more enjoyable experience for end-users.

 

3. Reduced Costs

 Not only does direct connections reduce your networking costs, but it can also reduce your egress rates as well. In some cases, private connectivity can reduce egress charges by as much as 50%.

 

4. Reliability

Direct connections provide the high reliability of a private network. Guaranteed increased uptime is crucial in many industries, especially at the moment. Automatic routing and rerouting of traffic globally ensure high availability in the event of a regional outage or network failure.

 

5. Ease of Doing Business

 With direct cloud interconnections, you no longer need to rely on network providers for connections for each cloud provider. Businesses also have access to a more assorted supplier ecosystem that can concentrate resources to encourage accelerated access to the public cloud. You will also have greater visibility into operations and applications. Connecting directly can even help improve communication and collaboration services, which are increasingly critical to productivity.

 

In this article, we share the main advantages, drawbacks and considerations of establishing a private connection to three of the main cloud providers: AWS, Google and Microsoft.

 

AWS Direct Connect

 

All the cloud providers have a unique vocabulary for cloud interconnect and in AWS’s case, it’s AWS Direct Connect. Here is an overview of establishing a direct connection to AWS Direct Connect:

 

  • A standard Ethernet cable satisfies businesses to link an internal enterprise network to an AWS Direct Connect location.
  • Virtual interfaces directly to public AWS services such as Amazon S3 or Amazon VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) can be built. AWS resources can be launched here in a logically isolated virtual network.
  • It bypasses the public internet, however, it demands that the user either has collocation with an existing AWS Direct Connect location or has access to an AWS Direct Connect partner.
  • AWS Direct Connect is compatible with all AWS services accessible over the internet. It is available at speeds starting at 50M and can scale up to 100G.
  • 10G and 100G connections offer native IEEE 802.1AE (MACsec) point-to-point encryption at select locations. 
  • AWS Site-to-Site VPN connections using IP security are available and can be used with any AWS Direct Connect connection.
  • AWS Direct Connect may reduce the network costs into and out of AWS for bandwidth-heavy workloads, 
  • A reduced rate of transfer for all data transferred over a dedicated connection is charged, rather than standard internet data transfer rates. AWS offers 60%-70% reduced data egress rates for those leveraging AWS Direct Connect. 
  • Various connection speeds and delivery alternatives are possible to support a wide range of situations. Dedicated Connections create a link to AWS using a 1G, 10G, or 100G Ethernet port.
  • Extensive reach to AWS regions across Europe, the US and the Asia Pacific.

Google Cloud Interconnect

 There are two main choices for businesses establishing direct connections to Google Cloud. 

  1.  Create a Dedicated Interconnect, which asks you to physically meet Google's network in a colocation facility to reach your networks. 
  2. Use a service provider to provide what Google calls Partner Interconnect to connect directly to Google.
  • Either choice provides access to all Google Cloud products and services from your on-premises network. This excludes Google Workspace, however.
  • Partner Interconnect provides capacity options starting at 50M
  • Partner Interconnect is the option that offers more points of connectivity and greater security and reliability.
  • Businesses don't need to install and maintain routing equipment in a colocation facility.
  • Google Cloud Platform is currently available in 24 cloud regions across 73 zones, with 144 network edge locations in over 200 countries. 

 Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

 

Azure ExpressRoute is the direct connectivity offering to the Microsoft cloud.

  • ExpressRoute aids businesses to establish connections to Microsoft cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure and specific SaaS packages such as Microsoft 365. 
  • Establish connectivity from an any-to-any (IP VPN) network, a point-to-point Ethernet network, or a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a colocation facility.
  • ExpressRoute provides businesses access to Microsoft cloud services over any geopolitical region. There is an option to access all Microsoft services across all areas with the ExpressRoute premium add-on.
  • Dynamic routing between a company's network and Microsoft occurs via BGP as standard. 
  • There are additional QoS support options for Microsoft’s services such as Skype for Business.
  • Azure ExpressRoute is compatible with all Azure services accessible over the internet. It is available at speeds starting at 50M and scaling up to 100G.

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