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Deployment Models

Instructor: Jon Myer

Deployment Models

In this lecture we will be talking about three of the most common deployments for AWS Network Firewall:

  • Distributed

  • Centralized

  • Combined (Distributed & Centralized)

The first deployment model is the distributed type. This is where an AWS Network Firewall is deployed into each individual VPC. In most cases, AWS Network Firewall would only be deployed into each VPC that requires protection. Take note that each VPC does not require connectivity to others or even an AWS Transit Gateway for communication. Each AWS Network Firewall will have its own firewall policy or a shared policy (common set of rules) and will be managed independently, this might seem like a lot of overhead but it also limits the possibility of any misconfigurations and impacts.

Does that mean if you have 50 VPC’s a AWS Network Firewall needs to be deployed into each. Yes.

Which brings me to the next deployment option:


If you’re looking to centralize your AWS Network Firewall Deployment, in which all network traffic is routed into a one VPC which is typically used as a central way to inspect VPC Traffic, then a central deployment model is the way to go.

Take note that you need to have an AWS Transit Gateway setup and configured as a prerequisite. This acts as a network hub to provide connectivity between VPCs and on-premise networks. 

For more information on the AWS Transit Gateway, please see our existing course here:

Connecting Networks with AWS Transit Gateway


The last deployment model does a combination of both, where the AWS Network Firewall is deployed as Distributed and Centralized. You can deploy into a Centralized VPC to inspect VPC traffic in which all internet flows through this VPC as well as deploy the AWS Network Firewall into individual VPCs.

How about we take a look and compare the different deployment models and what is or isn’t supported:


Distributed AWS Network Firewall deployment model

Centralized AWS Network Firewall deployment model

Combined AWS Network Firewall deployment model

East-West: VPC to VPC traffic flow

Not supported



North-South: VPC to Internet traffic flow




North-South: VPC to on-prem via VPN or DX traffic flow

Not supported




AWS Network Firewall subnet

Inspection VPC and AWS Transit Gateway

AWS Network Firewall subnets in each protected VPC; Inspection VPC and AWS Transit Gateway

Centralized management

Through AWS Firewall Manager

Through a single instance of AWS Network Firewall

Through AWS Firewall Manager

Source IP visibility

Configuration dependent


Configuration dependent

Misconfiguration risk and potential blast radius





Per AWS Network Firewall endpoint

Per AWS Transit Gateway attachments & AWS Network Firewall endpoints; AWS Transit Gateway data processing

Per AWS Transit Gateway attachments & AWS Network Firewall endpoints (including any additional endpoints per protected VPC); AWS Transit Gateway data processing


Some considerations when utilizing any of the deployment models we just talked about.

  • AWS Network Firewall is a managed service by AWS and is highly available based on AWS Hyperplane technology. Multiple instances are scaled to support the traffic flow.

  • AWS Transit Gateway is required for the centralized and combined deployment models.

  • AWS Network Firewall endpoints are utilized so you need to consider the cost per endpoint and only deploy them where it’s required.
2h 45m

This course covers the core learning objective to meet the requirements of the 'Designing secure solutions in AWS - Level 2' skill

Learning Objectives:

  • Analyze the available options to secure credentials using features of AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Evaluate the appropriate routing mechanism to securely access AWS service endpoints or internet-based resources from an Amazon VPC
  • Evaluate the appropriate encryption options available for data in transit and when at rest across AWS services
  • Evaluate the most appropriate key management service and options based on business requirements and governance controls


About the Author
Learning Paths

Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data center and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.

To date, Stuart has created 150+ courses relating to Cloud reaching over 180,000 students, mostly within the AWS category and with a heavy focus on security and compliance.

Stuart is a member of the AWS Community Builders Program for his contributions towards AWS.

He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.

In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.

Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.