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Community Blog Building a Global Enterprise VPC in 3 Minutes

Building a Global Enterprise VPC in 3 Minutes

In this article, the Alibaba Cloud Network Team talked about the key features and use cases of the newly launched Smart Access Gateway (SmartAG).

By Alibaba Cloud Network Team

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At the main forum of the Computing Conference 2018 in Hangzhou, Jiang Jiangwei, General Manager of Alibaba Technology R&D, demonstrated how to build an enterprise Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) in just minutes.

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The procedure involved only three steps: powering on a PC, connecting its WAN port to the Internet, and connecting its LAN port to another PC. The on-site PC successfully connected to the enterprise SAP system deployed on Alibaba Cloud through the VPC without any other operations on this PC.

In addition, the network quality test results showed that the network quality of the enterprise VPC built using SmartAG was improved in aspects of delay and packet loss.

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The centralized configuration and automatic route learning capabilities of SmartAG are mainly implemented by one system and two components.

One System: Alibaba Cloud Apsara Virtual Network System

Apsara Virtual Network System is responsible for cloud networks in the Alibaba Cloud Apsara system. It provides various network products for Alibaba Cloud, such as Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), Server Load Balancer (SLB), Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN), and Smart Access Gateway (SmartAG). It is also the network infrastructure of more than 100 cloud products such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Relational Database Service (RDS), Object Storage Service (OSS), and Network Attached Storage (NAS). In addition, Apsara Virtual Network System supports many types of business for Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Services Group, such as e-commerce, payment, and logistics. It is now a world-leading cloud network system.

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Two Components: Cloud Connect Network (CCN) and CEN

CCN can be understood as an access matrix that consists of Alibaba Cloud's distributed access points. Multiple SmartAGs can access one another after connecting to CCN. CCN can also connect to CEN, so that CCN and cloud resources, such as VPC and Virtual Boarder Router (VBR), can access each other.

CEN provides communication channels between cloud resources, and between cloud resources and Internet data centers (IDCs). Through automatic route distribution and learning, CEN also supports fast network convergence and high-quality cross-city communication. CEN is devoted to helping users build a globally interconnected enterprise-scale network with communication capabilities.

As a powerful tool for automatically building an enterprise VPC, what are the highlights of SmartAG? To answer this question, Yunqi Community interviewed the Alibaba Cloud network product team. The following are the details:

What Are the Main Functions of SmartAG?

SmartAG is a one-stop cloud access solution provided by Alibaba Cloud. It enables an enterprise to access the nearest cloud resources through the Internet in encrypted mode and build an enterprise VPC in minutes. SmartAG provides enterprises with more intelligent, reliable, and secure cloud access experience.

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What Is the Greatest Strength of SmartAG when Comparing with Similar Products on the Market?

SmartAG mainly focuses on new retail scenarios. In typical new retail scenarios, with the digital transformation of stores, merchants hope to conduct online and offline integrated operations, identify consumers, and collect user behavior data, thereby driving data-based operations. In addition, merchants are expecting new technologies to help them shorten the store construction period, reduce the required workforce, and improve daily operations efficiency.

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Compared to similar products on the market, SmartAG is superior in aspects of zero configuration in a real sense and cloud-network integration capabilities. It can truly benefit enterprises by freeing them from maintenance. SmartAG deeply integrates cloud technologies with abundant network resources relying on the Alibaba Cloud network that covers 18 regions worldwide, bears a total egress bandwidth of over 200 Tbit/s, and provides network resources of 200 multi-line Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) lines.

What Are the Highlights and Core Technologies of SmartAG?

Intelligence

SmartAG enables devices to access Alibaba Cloud upon power-on and provides the simplest hybrid cloud network solution.

With the VPN tunnel auto-negotiation and centralized control technologies, SmartAG helps enterprises monitor the topology of the entire network in real time and implement automatic device configuration delivery.

Auto scaling: Enterprises can implement real-time bandwidth adaptation based on business requirements, or adjust the peak bandwidth to meet the requirements of burst traffic.

Plug and play: SmartAG is available after devices are powered on and connected to the Internet. It is easy to use, with low skill requirements for its users.

Adaptive routing: SmartAG manages a network by hierarchy. When a node changes on the network, manual configuration adjustment is not required. SmartAG can dynamically perceive routes on the entire network through controllers, and automatically forward and learn the routes. This greatly reduces the complexity of route configuration and maintenance.

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Lower Costs

SmartAG helps reduce costs for enterprises in three aspects.

Workforce: SmartAG supports zero configuration and frees enterprises from maintenance, reducing labor costs.

Time: SmartAG supports plug and play, reducing time costs.

Network: SmartAG achieves an optimum balance between network quality and costs. This helps enterprises minimize direct investment without affecting experience.

High Reliability

SmartAG supports disaster recovery at three levels to ensure business continuity throughout the year.

Device-level disaster recovery: SmartAG is deployed on two nodes in active/standby mode. If the active node is faulty, business can be quickly switched to the standby node.

Link-level disaster recovery: Links through the broadband Internet, 4G network, and private line function as the backup of each other, and SmartAG can automatically switch from one link to another.

Access-level disaster recovery: SmartAG supports simultaneous access from dual access points. An access party can automatically switch between the dual access points within seconds.

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Security

SmartAG uses VPC isolation and Internet links to ensure security at multiple levels.

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Centralized Control

The unified control center can monitor the running status of each network node in real time and implement visualized management on the entire network.

What are the Differences between Different SmartAG Models?

SmartAG is an enterprise VPC device developed by the Alibaba Cloud network product team. Alibaba Cloud mainly provides four types of software and hardware SmartAG products to meet large-, medium-, and small-sized enterprises' requirements for branch (or store) interconnection, mobile office, and other scenarios.

Software client: a software app mainly used in mobile office and remote maintenance scenarios.

SAG-100b: a desktop device supporting a maximum bandwidth of 100 Mbit/s. This type is applicable to branch (or store) interconnection and cloud access scenarios for small-sized enterprises.

SAG-100wm: a desktop device supporting a maximum bandwidth of 100 Mbit/s as well as 4G and Wi-Fi capabilities. This type is applicable to branch (or store) interconnection and cloud access scenarios for medium-sized enterprises.

SAG-1000: a rack-mounted device supporting a maximum bandwidth of 1 Gbit/s and ensures reliability at three levels. This type is applicable to branch interconnection and cloud-based data center access scenarios for large-sized enterprises.

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What Other Industries Can SmartAG Be Applied to?

In addition to new retail, SmartAG can also be widely used in hotels, medical treatment, real estate, online education, smart agriculture, smart factories, restaurant chains, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other business areas. Besides enterprise cloud access, SmartAG can also be used for interconnection between offline stores that do not require cloud access.

What Business Models Are Available for SmartAG?

SmartAG is a cloud access solution for cloud-network integration. In addition to independent sales of SmartAG devices, Alibaba Cloud provides multiple business models and cooperation modes in the technical ecosystem, service ecosystem, and sales ecosystem to promote win-win cooperation.

SmartAG fully opens network capabilities and provides application programming interface (API) and software development kit (SDK) technologies to meet application integrators' requirements for secondary development or service integration into solutions. Alibaba Cloud welcomes channel agents or sales agents to maximize the commercial value of the entire ecosystem.

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