This article is a complete guide on Alibaba Cloud's Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN).
By Prashant Mishra, CEO and Founder of Click2Cloud Inc. and Alibaba Cloud MVP
The cloud computing network is highly segmented, with diverse options for connecting to it. Creating a VPN tunnel or advertising a route is no longer enough. Now, there are several other factors to consider. Some of the shortcomings include the lack of Layer 2 control, peering, traffic management gateways, and nested networks. Security often gets overlooked in the midst of managing connectivity due to its complexity. Another problem is that public networks do not have well-defined borders with private ones. A distributed cloud workload makes no sense with traditional firewalls and security layers.
Alibaba Cloud's Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) is here to help to overcome these challenges. It is a highly available network based on a global private network that offers low latency and high performance.
With CEN, you can set up private networks between virtual private clouds (VPCs) located in different regions or between VPCs and data centers. CEN is capable of discovering and distributing routes automatically. Network convergence can be accelerated by expanding the network architecture, enhancing communication quality and security across networks, and connecting all network resources. Alibaba Cloud CEN is designed to help you build enterprise-class networks that facilitate efficient, high-performance network communications.
Figure 1: Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN)
Transit routers are a feature of Alibaba Cloud CEN. Alibaba Cloud has developed new components for the CEN software, including transit routers.
Transit routers can connect network instances within the region they are deployed or connect network instances between different regions. The transit router also supports routing tables, maps, and connections across regions. Transit routers can be configured to create routes and map routes depending on your network and network management requirements.
Figure 2: Architecture of Transit Routers
Alibaba Cloud CEN is comprised of the following aspects:
Alibaba Cloud CEN instances are basic network resources to create and manage interconnected networks. The CEN instance can be attached to different networks after it is created. If your network is deployed globally, you will need to purchase a bandwidth plan and assign bandwidth for cross-region communication.
Network instances are capable of communicating with each other when they are attached to a CEN instance. A CEN instance has the following network connectivity options: VPCs, Virtual Border Routers (VBRs), and Cloud Connect Network (CCN) instances.
Bandwidth connections are not needed for network instances within the same region. It is important to purchase bandwidth plans for the areas where network instances are located and allocate bandwidth for cross-region connections to connect network instances across regions. Regions are contained within each area. The CEN console provides a list of supported areas.
Alibaba Cloud's private network features high performance with low latency. Your networking needs are met in a secure cloud environment with this private network. In-network transmissions, packets may be lost due to many factors, such as collisions in network streams and underlying network (Layer 2) errors. Alibaba Cloud intends to provide a network management service with an hourly packet loss rate of less than 0.0001% in the 99th percentile for cross-regional connections.
The following items should be noted when using CEN:
Some of the key benefits of Alibaba Cloud CEN are listed below:
1. Connected Globally
Alibaba Cloud's global network resources are connected through CEN, an enterprise-class network. Enterprises connected to Alibaba Cloud can also connect their network resources to CEN. All IP addresses connected to CEN are unique. Thus, conflicts over IP addresses are avoided. Controllers on CEN let nodes learn routes and distribute them among themselves automatically. This way, routes will converge quickly.
2. Distance between Nearest Access Point and Shortest Route
Alibaba Cloud can be accessed from more than 60 locations worldwide through CEN. Data can be transferred efficiently with low latency through this network, and the shortest path is calculated automatically between Alibaba data centers and on-premises data centers.
3. Managed Systematically
It is systematic to maintain and monitor a network. Changes to the system can cause CEN to detect route conflicts automatically. Thus, network stability is ensured.
4. Rapidity and Low Latency
Transmission over CEN's network is fast with low latency. A port forwarding rate of the gateway device can be reached between two on-premises networks. Compared to the Internet, the latency of CEN-based global communication is much lower.
5. Resiliency of the Internet Disaster Recovery
Alibaba Cloud CEN supports connection resilience and is highly available. Each access point is connected to more than one access point. When some of the connections are disrupted, this ensures that your workloads will run without network jitters or disruptions.
Figure 3: Benefits of Alibaba Cloud CEN (Cloud Enterprise Network)
Alibaba Cloud CEN is a global network that can build distributed business systems and hybrid clouds quickly, helping users build a network with enterprise-grade scalability and the communications capabilities of a cloud network. This network provides its end-users with high transmission speed and low latency due to its stable transmission and next-generation network environment. VPCs can communicate with each other and IDCs on Alibaba Cloud CEN. Alibaba Cloud CEN can learn and distribute routing information automatically, leading to faster routing convergence and improved network security and quality.
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