Express Connect helps you establish a fast, stable, secure, and private connection between your data center and a virtual private cloud (VPC). Express Connect circuits ensure secure data transmission, guarantee stable network quality, and prevent data breaches during transmission.
The following figure provides an example on how a data center is connected to an access point of Alibaba Cloud by using an Express Connect circuit. One end of the Express Connect circuit is connected to the gateway in the data center, and the other end is connected to a virtual border router (VBR) on Alibaba Cloud. This provides secure, reliable, high-speed, and low-latency connections. Express Connect circuits ensure low network latency, low packet loss rate, and high throughput even if data is transmitted over a long distance.
To access resources in a VPC, you must attach the VBR and the VPC to a Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) instance. Then, your data center can access all resources in the VPC, such as Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Container Service for Kubernetes (ACK), Server Load Balancer (SLB), and ApsaraDB RDS services. For more information about CEN, see What is CEN?.
Express Connect services include connections over Express Connect circuits and VBRs.
Connection over an Express Connect circuit
A connection that is established between a data center and an access point of Alibaba Cloud by using an Express Connect circuit. You can create a dedicated connection over an Express Connect circuit by applying for a dedicated Express Connect circuit in the Express Connect console. You can also use a hosted connection over a shared Express Connect circuit provided by an Express Connect partner.
- What is a VBR?
A router between the customer-premises equipment (CPE) in a data center and an access point of Alibaba Cloud. After you connect your data center to an access point of Alibaba Cloud, you can create a VBR to exchange data between your data center and Alibaba Cloud.
- High-speed connectionsPowered by the network virtualization technology of Alibaba Cloud, Express Connect enables networks to communicate with each other over direct, private, and high-speed connections. Network traffic does not traverse the Internet.
- Stability and reliabilityBuilt on the high-quality infrastructure of Alibaba Cloud, Express Connect ensures stable and reliable communication between networks.
- SecurityExpress Connect allows you to virtualize your networks, and networks owned by different accounts are independent of each other. This prevents data breaches during transmission.
- On-demand purchaseExpress Connect provides different bandwidth limits. You can specify a proper bandwidth limit to meet your business requirements.
Differences between Express Connect circuits and VPN gateways
You can use Express Connect circuits or VPN gateways to connect your data center to Alibaba Cloud. Compared with VPN connections, connections over Express Connect circuits provide better network connectivity, higher security, and larger bandwidth. The following table describes the differences between connections over Express Connect circuits and VPN connections.
|Item||Connection over an Express Connect circuit||VPN connection|
|Network connectivity||When you use an Express Connect circuit to connect to Alibaba Cloud, data is transmitted over a private connection with low network latency and packet loss rate.||VPN connections are established over the Internet and are subject to network latency and packet loss.|
|Security||Express Connect circuits are dedicated to users. This prevents data breaches and ensures high security. Connections over Express Connect circuits are suitable for users in the finance, government, and enterprise sectors that have high security requirements.||VPN connections are encrypted Internet connections and are suitable for users who have basic security requirements.|
|Bandwidth||The bandwidth of a connection over an Express Connect circuit can reach 100 Gbit/s for handling a large number of requests. |
You can also configure equal-cost multi-path (ECMP) routing by using multiple Express Connect circuits. This ensures service availability and aggregates the bandwidth to Tbit/s.
|The bandwidth of a VPN connection is limited by the bandwidth limit of a public IP address.|
The following table describes the terms that you must take note of when you use Express Connect circuits to connect to Alibaba Cloud.
|VBR||A router between the CPE in a data center and a VPC. After you connect your data center to a VPC, you can create a VBR to exchange data between your data center and the VPC.|
|vRouter||A hub that connects vSwitches in a VPC and serves as a gateway to connect the VPC and other networks.|
|Express Connect circuit||An Express Connect circuit that is leased to connect your data center to an access point of Alibaba Cloud.|
|Access point||A geographical location where an Express Connect circuit is connected to Alibaba Cloud. Two access devices are deployed in each access point. One or more access points are deployed in each region. You can connect your data center to a VPC by using one of the access points.|
|Border Gateway Protocol (BGP)||A routing protocol that is used to exchange data and routing and network accessibility information among gateways, Internet, or autonomous systems (ASs).|
|ECMP link aggregation||A mechanism that is used to increase bandwidth. You can connect an access device to multiple Express Connect circuits, associate a VBR with the Express Connect circuits, and configure ECMP to make full use of the bandwidth of the connections.|
|Dedicated Express Connect circuit||A connection that uses a dedicated Express Connect circuit. You can apply for an Express Connect circuit to connect your data center to an access point of Alibaba Cloud. The Express Connect circuit is dedicated to you. You can apply for an Express Connect circuit in the Express Connect console. For more information, see Create and manage a dedicated connection over an Express Connect circuit.|
|Shared Express Connect circuit||A connection that uses a shared Express Connect circuit. The access points of Express Connect partners are already connected to the access points of Alibaba Cloud. Therefore, you need to only connect your data center to the access point of an Express Connect partner. In this case, the Express Connect circuit is shared by multiple tenants. For more information, see Overview of hosted connections.|