AWS networking shares a lot in common with the way you run things locally; we’ll discuss some differences.
In this article, I’m going to break AWS networking down to its basic building blocks to offer some big-picture insight. By the way, you might enjoy Cloud Academy’s course on VPCs and AWS networking.
The following are what I believe the main network-oriented services on AWS:
- Amazon Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) let you launch AWS resources into virtual, isolated networks defined to perfectly fit your needs.
- AWS Direct Connect links your local network to your AWS resources through an AWS Direct Connect location over a standard 1 gigabit or 10 gigabit Ethernet fiber-optic cable.
- Amazon Route 53 provides a highly available and scalable Domain Name System (DNS) web service.
AWS Networking: Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
Here’s their definition:
Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) enables you to launch Amazon Web Services (AWS) resources into a virtual network that you’ve defined. This virtual network closely resembles a traditional network that you’d operate in your own data center, with the benefits of using the scalable infrastructure of AWS.
So if you’re already familiar with networking, you are in luck: AWS networking’s use of virtual networks closely resembles a traditional network that you’d operate in your own data center. but even if you’re still a bit new to the scene, you can hopefully still pick up some important basics.
How is AWS VPC Networking different?
1. AWS Networking Configurations
Assuming you have an AWS account you should already have a configured VPC waiting for you. If you’d like to roll your own, open your VPC dashboard an select “Start VPC Wizard” you will see these four choices:
- VPC with a Single Public Subnet.
- VPC with Public and Private Subnets.
- VPC with Public and Private Subnets and Hardware VPN Access.
- VPC with a Private Subnet Only and Hardware VPN Access.
For the time being forget about the last two – which involve connecting to an external VPN – and concentrate on numbers one and two.
In a VPC with a Single Public Subnet, your instances run in a private, isolated section of the AWS cloud with direct access to the Internet. Network Access Control Lists and Security Groups can be used to provide close control over inbound and outbound network traffic to your instances.
In a VPC with Public and Private Subnets, besides a public subnet, this configuration adds a private subnet whose instances are not addressable from the Internet. Instances in the private subnet can establish outbound connections to the Internet via the public subnet using Network Address Translation (NAT).
So subnets come in two flavors, public and private. Here’s how they work:
- If a subnet’s traffic is routed to an Internet gateway, the subnet is known as a public subnet.
- If a subnet doesn’t have a route to the Internet gateway, the subnet is known as a private subnet.
Some other things to know about subnets:
- A Subnet lives within a VPC and within a single Availability Zone
- You can have multiple Subnets within a VPC that live in different Availability Zones
3. Regions and Availability Zones
AWS regions are completely isolated from each other. To reduce network traffic latency, it is usually best to choose a region that’s geographically close to you or your resources. While each AWS region is isolated, there are multiple Availability Zones within a region that are connected to each other via low-latency links.
4. Security Groups and NACLs
While Network Access Control Lists and Security groups both exist to control network traffic, their main difference is that ACLs act as a firewall for controlling traffic into and out of subnets, while security groups provide security at the instance level.
5. Internet Gateways
When you launch a VPC, by default, an Internet Gateway (IGW) will be created and attached. As you can probably guess, this serves to connect resources within a VPC to the Internet. Now, since the Internet is where all the bad guys live, make sure you’ve locked all the doors that need locking.
Hint: If you are setting up an instance, configure your security group to allow only the minimum possible amount of incoming traffic – which is probably SSH (port 22) set to allow access only from your own IP. You can open other ports as needed later on.
6. Route Tables
Route tables direct network traffic between instances inside a subnet. If you need resources within different subnets to be able to talk to each other, then you will definitely need to understand route tables.
AWS Direct Connect
You are probably not going to need AWS Direct Connect unless you are planning on building significant infrastructure on AWS. Nevertheless, it is an important AWS networking concept. In a nutshell, AWS Direct Connect links a local network to your AWS resources through a dedicated connection to an AWS Direct Connect physical location (generally, a third party provider) over a standard 1 gigabit or 10 gigabit Ethernet fiber-optic cable.
Amazon Route 53
If you want your users to find you, you’ll need DNS routing. The AWS networking solution to that problem is Route 53, which offers highly available and scalable Domain Name System, domain name registration, and health-checking web services. It provides services, unlike other DNS providers, but with some nice extras like:
- Health checks and DNS failover. There’s nothing like users successfully finding their way to your web app…only to discover that the server is down. Route53 can make your applications highly available and resilient to failure by keeping a careful watch on their status. If your applications are deployed in multiple availability zones within multiple AWS regions, Route 53 can perform health checks against each endpoint, allowing your clients to invisibly switch between servers without even noticing that there was a problem.
- Routing Decisions are based on…
– Health check status
– WRR (weighted round robin),
– LBR (latency-based routing)
– Geolocation routing.
- Aliasing is another special feature Route 53 that is unique to AWS.
AWS Networking is not quite the same as “old world” networking, but where it’s different, it’s usually a good thing. Here’s a summary of what we discussed:
VPC (Virtual Private Cloud)
– Different Configurations for your Network
– Regions and Availability Zones
– Security Groups and NACLs
– Internet Gateways
– Route Tables
AWS Direct Connect
Amazon Route 53
– Health checks and DNS failover
– Routing Decision Making
New on Cloud Academy: Red Hat, Agile, OWASP Labs, Amazon SageMaker Lab, Linux Command Line Lab, SQL, Git Labs, Scrum Master, Azure Architects Lab, and Much More
Happy New Year! We hope you're ready to kick your training in overdrive in 2020 because we have a ton of new content for you. Not only do we have a bunch of new courses, hands-on labs, and lab challenges on AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, but we also have three new courses on Red Hat, th...
Cloud Academy’s Blog Digest: Azure Best Practices, 6 Reasons You Should Get AWS Certified, Google Cloud Certification Prep, and more
Happy Holidays from Cloud Academy We hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends, and plenty of food. Here at Cloud Academy, we are thankful for our amazing customer like you. Since this time of year can be stressful, we’re sharing a few of our latest article...
Google Cloud Platform Certification: Preparation and Prerequisites
Google Cloud Platform (GCP) has evolved from being a niche player to a serious competitor to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. In 2019, research firm Gartner placed Google in the Leaders quadrant in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Infrastructure as a Service for the second consecuti...
New Lab Challenges: Push Your Skills to the Next Level
Build hands-on experience using real accounts on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and more Meaningful cloud skills require more than book knowledge. Hands-on experience is required to translate knowledge into real-world results. We see this time and time again in studies about how pe...
New on Cloud Academy: AWS Solution Architect Lab Challenge, Azure Hands-on Labs, Foundation Certificate in Cyber Security, and Much More
Now that Thanksgiving is over and the craziness of Black Friday has died down, it's now time for the busiest season of the year. Whether you're a last-minute shopper or you already have your shopping done, the holidays bring so much more excitement than any other time of year. Since our...
Understanding Enterprise Cloud Migration
What is enterprise cloud migration? Cloud migration is about moving your data, applications, and even infrastructure from your on-premises computers or infrastructure to a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale. Why d...
6 Reasons Why You Should Get an AWS Certification This Year
In the past decade, the rise of cloud computing has been undeniable. Businesses of all sizes are moving their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. This is partly because the cloud allows businesses and their employees to access important information from just about anywhere. ...
AWS Regions and Availability Zones: The Simplest Explanation You Will Ever Find Around
The basics of AWS Regions and Availability Zones We’re going to treat this article as a sort of AWS 101 — it’ll be a quick primer on AWS Regions and Availability Zones that will be useful for understanding the basics of how AWS infrastructure is organized. We’ll define each section,...
Application Load Balancer vs. Classic Load Balancer
What is an Elastic Load Balancer? This post covers basics of what an Elastic Load Balancer is, and two of its examples: Application Load Balancers and Classic Load Balancers. For additional information — including a comparison that explains Network Load Balancers — check out our post o...
Advantages and Disadvantages of Microservices Architecture
What are microservices? Let's start our discussion by setting a foundation of what microservices are. Microservices are a way of breaking large software projects into loosely coupled modules, which communicate with each other through simple Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). ...
Kubernetes Services: AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud
Kubernetes is a popular open-source container orchestration platform that allows us to deploy and manage multi-container applications at scale. Businesses are rapidly adopting this revolutionary technology to modernize their applications. Cloud service providers — such as Amazon Web Ser...
AWS Internet of Things (IoT): The 3 Services You Need to Know
The Internet of Things (IoT) embeds technology into any physical thing to enable never-before-seen levels of connectivity. IoT is revolutionizing industries and creating many new market opportunities. Cloud services play an important role in enabling deployment of IoT solutions that min...