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AWS Direct Connect
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AWS Direct Connect vs AWS Storage Gateway: What are the differences?

Developers describe AWS Direct Connect as "Establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS". AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. Using AWS Direct Connect, you can establish private connectivity between AWS and your datacenter, office, or colocation environment, which in many cases can reduce your network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections. On the other hand, AWS Storage Gateway is detailed as "Connect your on-premises IT environment with AWS’s storage infrastructure for data backup and disaster recovery". The AWS Storage Gateway is a service connecting an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage. Once the AWS Storage Gateway’s software appliance is installed on a local host, you can mount Storage Gateway volumes to your on-premises application servers as iSCSI devices, enabling a wide variety of systems and applications to make use of them. Data written to these volumes is maintained on your on-premises storage hardware while being asynchronously backed up to AWS, where it is stored in Amazon Glacier or in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. Snapshots are encrypted to make sure that customers do not have to worry about encrypting sensitive data themselves. When customers need to retrieve data, they can restore snapshots locally, or create Amazon EBS volumes from snapshots for use with applications running in Amazon EC2. It provides low-latency performance by maintaining frequently accessed data on-premises while securely storing all of your data encrypted.

AWS Direct Connect and AWS Storage Gateway are primarily classified as "Cloud Dedicated Network Connection" and "Data Backup" tools respectively.

Some of the features offered by AWS Direct Connect are:

  • Reduces Your Bandwidth Costs – If you have bandwidth-heavy workloads that you wish to run in AWS, AWS Direct Connect reduces your network costs into and out of AWS in two ways. First, by transferring data to and from AWS directly, you can reduce your bandwidth commitment to your Internet service provider. Second, all data transferred over your dedicated connection is charged at the reduced AWS Direct Connect data transfer rate rather than Internet data transfer rates.
  • Consistent Network Performance – Network latency over the Internet can vary given that the Internet is constantly changing how data gets from point A to B. With AWS Direct Connect, you choose the data that utilizes the dedicated connection and how that data is routed which can provide a more consistent network experience over Internet-based connections.
  • Compatible with all AWS Services – AWS Direct Connect is a network service, and works with all AWS services that are accessible over the Internet, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC).

On the other hand, AWS Storage Gateway provides the following key features:

  • Gateway-Cached Volumes – Gateway-Cached volumes allow you to utilize Amazon S3 for your primary data, while retaining some portion of it locally in a cache for frequently accessed data.
  • Gateway-Stored Volumes – Gateway-Stored volumes store your primary data locally, while asynchronously backing up that data to AWS.
  • Data Snapshots – Gateway-Cached volumes and Gateway-Stored volumes provide the ability to create and store point-in-time snapshots of your storage volumes in Amazon S3.
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What is AWS Direct Connect?

AWS Direct Connect makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. Using AWS Direct Connect, you can establish private connectivity between AWS and your datacenter, office, or colocation environment, which in many cases can reduce your network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.

What is AWS Storage Gateway?

The AWS Storage Gateway is a service connecting an on-premises software appliance with cloud-based storage. Once the AWS Storage Gateway’s software appliance is installed on a local host, you can mount Storage Gateway volumes to your on-premises application servers as iSCSI devices, enabling a wide variety of systems and applications to make use of them. Data written to these volumes is maintained on your on-premises storage hardware while being asynchronously backed up to AWS, where it is stored in Amazon Glacier or in Amazon S3 in the form of Amazon EBS snapshots. Snapshots are encrypted to make sure that customers do not have to worry about encrypting sensitive data themselves. When customers need to retrieve data, they can restore snapshots locally, or create Amazon EBS volumes from snapshots for use with applications running in Amazon EC2. It provides low-latency performance by maintaining frequently accessed data on-premises while securely storing all of your data encrypted.
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            Avatar of Instagram
            Instagram uses AWS Direct ConnectAWS Direct Connect

            Direct Connect is a product offered by AWS that allows a customer to establish peering links between Amazon’s data centers and a third party. Using it, we figured that we could link to Facebook’s infrastructure over multiple redundant 10Gbps links. It was during this research when we found the main blocker:

            We have no control over IP addressing in EC2.

            While this hadn’t been an issue before, it was impassable if we were to establish links with Facebook, as their internal IP space intersected with that of EC2. After much deliberation, we began to understand that we had one option: migrate to VPC first.

            Avatar of Yelp
            Yelp uses AWS Direct ConnectAWS Direct Connect

            We’ve also been able to leverage Amazon EC2 using AWS Direct Connect, which allows our engineering teams to bring up hardware whenever they need. It’s been awesome removing the hardware barrier for getting to production.

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