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Last Updated: Jul 22, 2019

This topic provides a comparison of the networking services of Alibaba Cloud and the equivalent AWS services.


1. Networking services overview

The following table shows the networking services of Alibaba Cloud and their AWS equivalents.

AWS Alibaba Description
Amazon VPC Virtual Private Cloud Helps you to construct a logically isolated networking environment where you can customize your own IP address range, subnets, route tables, and network gateways.
AWS Direct Connect Express Connect Enables you to establish a dedicated network connection from your on-premise data environment to cloud services, between cross-regional VPCs, and between cross-account VPCs. This service improves the flexibility of your network topology and the quality of cross-network communications.
Elastic Load Balancing Server Load Balancer With the load balancing service that distributes traffic among several cloud servers, the external service capacity of the application system can be expanded via traffic distribution, and the availability and fault tolerance of the application system can be improved by eliminating single-point failure.
Amazon Route 53 Alibaba Cloud DNS A highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) service and DNS management service. It provides businesses and developers with a stable, secure, and intelligent way to route end users to websites or applications by translating domain names or applications into IP addresses. DNS management is also supported.
Amazon CloudFront CDN A global content delivery network (CDN) service that delivers content to the location closest to the user that is requesting the content. This increases the response speed and content delivery rate. Additionally, it resolves the delivery latency problem due to distributions, bandwidth, and server performance, greatly improving scenarios such as site speed increase and on-demand and live video streaming.
Amazon API Gateway API Gateway An API hosting service that enables you to publish, manage, maintain, and sell APIs. It helps you easily and quickly achieve microservice aggregation, frontend and backend system separation, and system integration at low costs and low risks. Functions and data of this service are open to partners and developers.
Cloud Enterprise Network Cloud Enterprise Network can build private communication channel between the VPCs and between the VPC and the local data center. It can improve the quick convergence of the network as well as the quality and security of the cross-network communication through automatic route distribution and learning, so as to realize the interworking of the resources in the whole network, thus helping you create an interconnected network with enterprise class scale and communication capacity.

2. VPC

Amazon VPC and Alibaba Cloud VPC have similar architectures, usage scenarios, and features. Both services let you establish logically isolated sections of a networking environment. You can logically isolate private networks from each other.

2.1 Feature comparison

The following table shows the features that are supported by Alibaba Cloud VPC and Amazon VPC.

Feature Amazon VPC Alibaba Cloud VPC
ClassicLink Supported Supported
Elastic network interface Supported Supported
Private network Supported Supported
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHPC) Supported Supported

2.2 Billing

Alibaba Cloud VPC is provided free of charge. Alibaba Cloud does charge for additional services, which are treated as independent resources and billed separately from Alibaba Cloud VPC. Amazon VPC also charges for additional services such as NAT gateways, VPN gateways, and elastic IP addresses. However, Amazon does not list these additional services independently and they appear on the bill for Amazon VPC.

For NAT gateways, the billing method for Amazon NAT gateways differs from that of Alibaba Cloud NAT gateways. An Amazon NAT gateway bills you for each “NAT Gateway-hour” that your NAT gateway is provisioned and available. For data processing, you are billed for each gigabyte processed through the NAT gateway, regardless of the source and destination of the traffic. Alibaba Cloud NAT gateway charges include instance charges and public network charges.

The following table shows the billing methods of Amazon NAT gateways and Alibaba Cloud NAT gateways.

Billing method Amazon NAT Gateway Alibaba Cloud NAT Gateway
Pay-As-You-Go. You are billed by traffic. Total fees = NAT gateway configuration fee + data processing fee (+ data transmission fee) Total fees = NAT gateway instance usage fee + NAT Public network fee (Elastic IP address fee).

3. Load balancing

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) and Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer (SLB) differ slightly in architecture and usage. Amazon ELB provides the following types of services: Classic load balancer, network load balancer, and application load balancer. Alibaba Cloud SLB provides the following services: Layer 4 load balancers and layer 7 load balancers.

3.1 Feature comparison

The following table shows the features that are supported by Alibaba Cloud SLB and Amazon ELB.

Feature Amazon ELB Alibaba Cloud SLB
Supported protocols TCP, SSL, HTTP, and HTTPS.(UDP is not supported for the time being.) TCP, UDP, HTTP, and HTTPS.
HTTP 2.0 Supported Supported
Forwarding of domain names and URLs Supported Supported
Active/Standby server N/A Supported
IPv6 Supported Supported
Whitelist N/A Supported
Runtime condition check Supported Supported.
Runtime monitoring Amazon ELB allows you to monitor your application performance in real time by using Amazon CloudWatch metrics and request tracing. Alibaba Cloud SLB provides operation logs, health check logs, API access logs, and access logs of Layer 7 load balancing.At the same time, it has access to Alibaba Cloud CloudMonitor and provides a rich set of alarm methods.
Security You can create and manage the security groups assigned to your load balancer. This helps provide more VPC connections and more security options. You can also create an internal load balancer. You can create and manage the security groups assigned to your load balancer. This helps provide more VPC connections and more security options.Alibaba Cloud SLB is equipped with Alibaba Cloud Security to prevent DDoS(Free maximum 5G basic protection.) and Challenge Collapsar attacks.

3.2 Billing

Amazon Elastic ELB bills you for each hour that an Elastic Load Balancer is running and the number of Load Balancer Capacity Units (LCU) used per hour. Alibaba Cloud SLB supports the following billing methods: Pay-By-Bandwidth, Pay-By-Traffic.

The following table shows the billing methods that are supported by Alibaba Cloud SLB and the Amazon ELB.

Billing method Amazon ELB Alibaba Cloud SLB
Subscription (pay monthly/annually) Not Supported Supported (Bandwidth)
Pay-As-You-Go Supported (LCU x usage), $/LCU/hour Supported (Bandwidth or traffic)
Instance Charged in addition, $/instance/hour Charged in addition, $/instance/hour
  • LCU = Load Balancer Capacity Units

4. Dedicated Network Connections

Alibaba Cloud Express Connect allows you to establish a dedicated connection between your on-premises data centers and VPCs. For more information, see

AWS Direct Connect lets you establish a dedicated network connection between your network and one of the AWS Direct Connect locations.

4.1 Feature comparison

The following table shows the features that are supported by Alibaba Cloud Express Connect and AWS Direct Connect.

Feature AWS Direct Connect Alibaba Cloud Express Connect
Dedicated network connection AWS Direct Connect enables you to establish a dedicated network connection from your on-premise data environment to AWS. By using AWS Direct Connect, you can establish private connectivity between AWS and your data center, office, or colocation environment. This generally reduces network costs, increases bandwidth throughput, and provides a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections. Physical private line can be used to connect the local data center to Alibaba Cloud physically, and then boundary router and router interface can be established to connect the local facilities and Alibaba Cloud VPC. In China, Alibaba Cloud cooperates with the frontline telecom operators to ensure the compliance of the cross-border line.
Dedicated network connection by using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Supported Supported

4.2 Billing

The billing method of Alibaba Cloud Express Connect differs from that of AWS Direct Connect. Alibaba Express Connect is billed on either a daily or monthly basis depending on your service plan. However, AWS Direct Connect bills you based on traffic and port leasing. The following table shows the billing methods that are supported by Alibaba Cloud Express Connect and the AWS Direct Connect.

Billing method Amazon Alibaba Cloud
Subscription Supported Supported
Bandwidth Supported Supported
Traffic Supported Not Supported
Port leasing fee Supported Supported

Note: The costs incurred from using AWS Direct Connect for communications within the same region are different from the cost of using the service for communications between regions.

5. Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN)

Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) provides a global network that allows you to easily build a hybrid cloud and distributed business system. Featuring simple configuration, full connected full-mesh, dynamic route, and multi-link sharing bandwidth, it can help enterprises quickly expand to new regions.

AWS does not currently provide an equivalent service. To realize a connection between the cloud and local data centers, and between cross-region VPCs through one network, two services are needed instead: AWS Direct Connect and VPC Peering Connection. You must configure each connection separately. In addition, the traffic and bandwidth of the connections cannot be shared.

For more information about CEN, see the CEN product page.