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Last Updated: Aug 14, 2018

With Alibaba Cloud network products, you can isolate cloud infrastructure, expand request processing capabilities and connect the local network to Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). For example, you can establish a secure and stable network by leveraging dedicated network connections.

No matter if you want to implement a multi-cloud architecture, or to fully migrate your services from Azure to Alibaba Cloud, this document introduces the comparison of the servicing capabilities of the networking products provided by Azure and Alibaba Cloud.

1. Networking products

The following table shows the comparison of the networking products of Azure and Alibaba Cloud. Both have similar servicing capabilities, but vary in terms of depth and width.

Azure Alibaba Cloud Description
Azure Virtual Network Virtual Private Cloud It is a private network dedicated to you, where you can you can customize your own IP address range, subnets, route tables, and network gateways.
ExpressRoute Express Connect It enables you to establish a dedicated network connection from your local data center to cloud services. It improves the flexibility of your network topology and the quality of cross-network communications.
Azure Load Balancer Server Load Balancer It is a traffic distribution service that distributes network traffic across multiple cloud servers to improve the servicing capabilities of your applications, eliminating the single point of failure.
Azure DNS Alibaba Cloud DNS A highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) service and DNS management service. 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 to IP addresses. DNS management is also supported.
Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) Alibaba Cloud 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.
VPN Gateway VPN Gateway It provisions traditional Internet infrastructure to connect a local data center or a remote client to a VPC through an encrypted tunnel.
N/A NAT Gateway It is an enterprise-class Internet gateway that provides NAT proxy services (SNAT and DNAT) with of up to 10 Gbps forwarding capacity. It supports binding multiple Elastic IP Addresses and these Elastic IP Addresses share the instance bandwidth.
Elastic IP Elastic IP Address It is a public IP address resource that you can purchase and possess independently. You can bind an EIP to an ECS or SLB instance of the VPC network, or a NAT Gateway.

2. VPC

Azure Virtual Network 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

Feature Azure Virtual Network Alibaba Cloud VPC
Supported resources You can use Azure resources such as Azure VM、Azure Database for MySQL and Blob Storage by provisioning them with IP addresses in your VPC。 You have full control over your VPC, including specifying its IP address range, and configuring route tables and network gateways. You can use Alibaba Cloud resources such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Relational Database Service (RDS), and Server Load Balancer (SLB) in your VPC.
Security policies You can connect your VPC with your local infrastructure using an encrypted VPN connection. This extends your existing security and management policies to your VPC instances as if they were running within your infrastructure. You can use security groups to classify instances in your VPC into different security domains and define different security policies for each security domain. You can also use Resource Access Management (RAM) to manage permissions in your VPC.
Subnet routing Supported Supported
Elastic network interface Supported Supported
Multiple IP Supported Supported

2.2 Costs

Both Azure Virtual Network and Alibaba Cloud VPC are free to use. However, you will be charged if you use additional services such as NAT Gateways=, VPN Gateways, and Elastic IP Address, and so on.

3. Load balancing

The load balancing service distributes traffic across multiple cloud servers to improve the servicing capabilities of your applications. Azure Load Balancer and Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer (SLB) are slightly different in architecture and usage scenarios. Azure Load Balancer supports TCP/UDP-based protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, and SMTP, and protocols used for real-time voice and video messaging applications. Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer supports Layer-4 (TCP/UDP) and Layer-7 (HTTP/HTTPS) protocols, and also provides you with the certificate management and health check functions.

3.1 Feature comparison

Feature Azure Load Balancer Alibaba Cloud SLB
IPv6 Supported Supported
HTTP/2 Supported Supported
WebSocket Supported Supported
Access control (Whitelist and blacklist) Not supported Supported
Domain and URL forwarding Supported Supported
Redirect 80 to 443 Supported Supported
Active/standby server group Not supported Supported
Monitor running status Supported Supported
Health check Supported Supported
HTTPS two-way authentication Not supported Supported
Across region Not supported Not supported
Add local servers Not supported Supported

3.2 Costs

The Basic Azure Load Balancer is free of charge. The Standard Azure Load Balancer has a charge associated with it. The pricing for Standard Load Balancer is based on number of rules configured (load balancer rules and NAT rules) and data processed.

The Alibaba Cloud SLB is charged on the traffic usage.

4. Dedicated network connections

You can have high-speed, stable, and secure private communications between different network environments. For example, cross-regional and cross-account connectivity between VPCs on the cloud, and the connection between your local data environment and the cloud. Dedicated network connections help improve the flexibility of your network topology and the quality of cross-network communications.

4.1 Feature comparison

Feature ExpressRoute Alibaba Cloud Express Connect
Dedicated network connection Use Azure ExpressRoute to create private connections between Azure datacenters and infrastructure on your premises or in a colocation environment. ExpressRoute connections don’t go over the public Internet, and they offer more reliability, faster speeds, and lower latencies than typical Internet connections. Alibaba Cloud Express Connect enables you to physically connect your local infrastructure to Alibaba Cloud using physical leased lines. After that you can create a virtual border router (VBR) and router interfaces to connect your data center to your Alibaba Cloud VPC.
Dedicated network connection by using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) Supported Supported
VPC interconnection Supported Supported
Cloud Enterprise Network Not supported Supported

4.2 Costs

For Azure ExpressRoute, all inbound data transfer is free of charge, and all outbound data transfer is charged based on a pre-determined rate. Alibaba Cloud bills you on a daily or monthly basis. You are charged on leased line and traffic usage.