Satisfying The Need for Speed to AWS

Kaushik Joshi
David McCullough
Satisfying The Need for Speed to AWS

Cloud service providers (CSPs) note that their interconnection products, such as AWS Direct Connect, drive accelerated consumption of IaaS compute and storage services because of the improved and more consistent network performance. There are also other benefits that private interconnection to cloud platforms provides enterprises versus using the public internet. For example, AWS Direct Connect may also lead to a reduction in network costs, increases in bandwidth throughput, reduced latency, and more choices when it comes to routing mission critical traffic between on-premises and cloud environments.

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ Data Sheet

Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric™) directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two ECX Fabric locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.

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New options for fast AWS Hosted Connections via the ECX Fabric portal

When AWS Direct Connect was launched in 2011, there was only a Dedicated Connection model provided by cross connects inside of data centers (many of them Equinix facilities) where AWS had a network presence. Since then the demand for Direct Connect has grown and AWS expanded its product functionality to “virtual connections” via a Hosted Connection model, but only for speeds of up to 500 Mbps. As more customers were seeking to virtualize their connectivity to AWS for larger workloads and applications, higher bandwidth speeds were required. On March 19, 2019, AWS announced a major update to their Direct Connect product which includes clearer product guidance for the three Direct Connect models, higher capacities (1, 2, 5 and 10 Gbps), and reduced pricing for the existing capacities (200, 300, 400 and 500 Mbps).

Equinix is pleased to be a launch partner for the new AWS Direct Connect Service Delivery Program to offer the recently announced 1, 2, 5, and 10 Gbps AWS Direct Connect Hosted Connections, enabling our customers to scale high-speed, virtual interconnection to AWS in all Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) markets worldwide.

Production-grade clouds need enterprise-grade interconnection

AWS Direct Connect is a direct and secure alternative to using the public internet to access AWS cloud services. As production-grade cloud environments grow, so does the need for enterprise-grade interconnectivity and service level agreement (SLA) guarantees. AWS recommends two models for latency-sensitive workloads: Dedicated Connections and Hosted Connections:

Dedicated Connections Model: In this model, a 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps physical Ethernet port is dedicated to an organization. Each Dedicated Connection supports up to 50 Virtual Interfaces (VIFs) for greater connection scalability via a single physical port. Once AWS has provisioned a port for a customer, an AWS Direct Connect Partner will complete the connection.

Hosted Connections Model: With this approach, an AWS Direct Connect partner is able to programmatically automate the network connection between an enterprise’s on premises environment, such as Equinix, to their AWS virtual private cloud (VPC) environment. Capacity management for AWS environments and workloads is as simple as adding or removing Hosted Connections on demand. Each Hosted Connection supports a single VIF and you can obtain multiple VIFs by acquiring multiple Hosted Connections. AWS does not allow oversubscription of the Interconnects between the AWS Direct Connect Partner and the AWS network with this model. To ensure adherence to this policy, the interconnect capacity and health is monitored by AWS, resulting in better performance and network guarantees for customers.

Hosted Connections allow for an increase in the speed of provisioning for enterprise deployments and has helped solve for dynamic network requirements when there is a need to quickly establish connections in a multi-VPC environment. Plus, it allows customers to more easily solve for multicloud and hybrid cloud networking challenges. Enterprises seeking to migrate workloads that require higher connection speeds with lower latency can rely on Direct Connect for:

  • Databases (e.g., Oracle, Microsoft SQL, etc.) by leveraging AWS tools
  • Migration of on-premises VMware and SAP applications (e.g., HANA) to AWS
  • Hybrid/multicloud architecture for mission-critical applications, especially based on VMware and SAP
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery environments

With the recent announcement by AWS it is important to note that a third model, Hosted Virtual Interfaces, is no longer supported by AWS for new Direct Connect partners. With Hosted Virtual Interfaces, multiple customers have access to, and share, all of the available capacity on the network interconnect between the AWS Direct Connect partner and the AWS network. Several Direct Connect partners have used this in the past as a workaround to achieve higher speeds for their customers. However, this means that the interconnects could be oversubscribed, causing congestion and packet loss, which negatively impact performance when connecting to AWS. For this reason, Equinix and AWS only support and recommend Dedicated and Hosted Connections for our mutual customers. This is especially important for customers who may have mission critical workloads that could be sensitive to network congestion.

Fulfilling pent-up global demand for fast interconnection to AWS

Digital transformation and the demand for hybrid cloud architectures is fueling the need for more on-demand and elastic access to public and private cloud-based services in businesses around the world. With these higher-capacity AWS connection speeds, our customers can now seamlessly extend their existing deployments with these new interconnection offerings using the same ports and process that they are familiar with when using a Hosted Connection today.

Equinix has successfully worked with many enterprise customers to maximize their AWS deployments including:

  • Colony Brands is a leading e-commerce catalogue merchandiser that transformed its legacy IT infrastructure with Equinix and AWS to optimize its interconnection to the cloud, gaining an internal rate of return of 81% annually.
  • iguazio empowers its global customers to manage data intelligently and gain actionable business insights for greater operational efficiency and faster revenue growth. The company delivered a unified, hybrid cloud solution at Equinix that allowed iguazio customers, such as the rideshare company Grab, to access cloud computing with fast connectivity to data services using Equinix and AWS for real-time data insights.
  • Foursquare is a local search and discovery application that helps more than 45 million users get personalized recommendation and deals based on where they, their friends, and people like them have been. By building its hybrid cloud platform inside Equinix using AWS, Foursquare doubled transaction processing capabilities while keeping costs flat.

Guidance on “how to” order the new higher speed AWS Direct Connect Hosted Connections can be found in the ECX Fabric Documentation Center.

Learn more about Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric.


Kaushik Joshi Global Managing Director, Strategic Alliances
David McCullough Principal Product Manager
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