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Introduction to AWS Global Accelerator

The faster adoption of cloud services has been a game-changer for many enterprises all over the world. Now, businesses could deliver their services faster than ever to end-users, all because of the cloud. As the demand for availability and performance increases, enterprises are looking for advanced solutions to address these concerns. The AWS Global Accelerator by Amazon Web Services (AWS), is the proven solution every enterprise has been looking since a long time.

If you want to increase the availability and performance of your applications, then the Global Accelerator is a great alternative. The advent of the Global Accelerator has been good news for many enterprises with applications catering to the needs of local and global users. However, many enterprises are uncertain about adopting the Global Accelerator due to the lack of information.

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The following discussion provides brief guidance on Amazon Global Accelerator and its various implications. Readers can use the following guide to find out its definition, use cases, benefits, and how it works. Furthermore, users can also get a viable comparison between Global Accelerator and CloudFront to verify the capabilities of both services. As a result, you can get a thorough impression of the effectiveness of the Global Accelerator and its capabilities.

What is Amazon Global Accelerator?

One of the first things in a discussion about AWS Global Accelerator should be its definition. Amazon Global Accelerator is a network service aimed at supporting the improvement of performance and availability of applications offered to global users. The ease of setup, configuration, and management of Global Accelerator is its foremost strengths. The static IP addresses help in providing a fixed entry point for applications.

As a result, users don’t have to bear the complexities of managing specific IP addresses for various AWS Availability Zones and Regions. Static IP addresses are fixed entry points to application endpoints like Amazon EC2 instances and Application Load Balancers. Global Accelerator redirects user traffic to optimal endpoints on the basis of performance, user’s location, and configured policies.

It also takes instant responses to the changes in application health into consideration. The facility of a speed comparison tool with Global Accelerator also helps in evaluating the performance benefits. Amazon Global Accelerator leverages the global AWS network for optimization of the path from users to applications.

As a result, it can lead to improvements in traffic performance by almost 60%. Furthermore, Global Accelerator helps in continuous monitoring of application endpoint health and redirecting traffic to healthy endpoints within 30 seconds.

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Ideal Use Cases of Amazon’s Global Accelerator

After observing the definition of AWS Global Accelerator, it is essential to reflect on its various ideal use cases. A review of the use cases can help in the assessment of the perfect situations in which you should implement it. Here is an outline of the notable use cases of Global Accelerator that are critical highlights of any introductory guide.

  • Better Scalability with Higher Performance

The growth in application usage presents considerable challenges for the management of the additional IP addresses and endpoints. However, Global Accelerator helps in resolving this issue through the facility of scaling the network up or down.

Most important of all, it helps in associating regional resources with two static IP addresses. Users have to whitelist the IP addresses only once in the client DNS records, applications, and firewalls. AWS Global Accelerator can also help in adding or removal of endpoints in AWS regions and running blue/green deployment.

Furthermore, it also helps in running A/B tests without the need for updating IP addresses in your client applications. Therefore, Global Accelerator can find useful applications in the IoT, retail, healthcare, media, and automotive industries which have limits on frequent updates of client applications.

  • Latency-Sensitive Applications

Low latency is a mandatory requirement for applications in different industries such as media, financial applications, gaming, and mobile applications. The need for low latency is essential for ensuring a prolific user experience. Global Accelerator ensures routing of user traffic to the application endpoint nearest to the client, thereby reducing latency.

It leverages Anycast for routing traffic to the closest edge location and then routing it to the nearest regional endpoint. Furthermore, Global Accelerator also responds faster to changes in network performance, thereby commanding better improvements in the performance of user applications.

  • Faster Disaster Recovery

AWS Global Accelerator is also an ideal option for running your applications in multiple AWS regions and Availability Zones. The primary objectives of businesses for running their applications on AWS Regions or Availability Zones focus on disaster recovery, lower latency, compliance, and higher availability.

When Global Accelerator recognizes the failure of an application endpoint in the primary AWS Region or Availability Zone, it instantly starts routing traffic to an application endpoint in the next nearest, available endpoint in another AWS Region or Availability Zone.

  • Security for Applications

Users can also find the implications for protecting your applications as one of the notable use cases in AWS Global Accelerator Documentation. When you turn the EC2 instances or Application Load Balancers toward the public for serving your end users, you also face additional risks of cyberattacks.

Global Accelerator helps in adding a private EC2 instance or an internal Application Load Balancer as an endpoint. Since the Global Accelerator serves as a single internet-facing access point, you can safeguard applications running on AWS against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

In addition, it also helps in controlling the approaches end-users follow for reaching your applications. AWS Global Accelerator also helps in creating a peering connection between the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud and Global Accelerator. The traffic between the two VPCs implements private IP addresses for providing the assurance of security.

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Working of Global Accelerator

Now that you have an idea about the different notable applications of Global Accelerator, it is reasonable to understand how it works. Let us reflect on how Global Accelerator works in the form of simple steps as follows.

  • The first step involves rerouting of traffic from the user’s client to the AWS Global Accelerator.
  • Then, the traffic from the user’s client enters the AWS global network at the nearest edge location.
  • Now, the Global Accelerator ensures redirection of traffic to the ideal endpoint on the basis of proximity to the client, endpoint health and weights.
  • The traffic from the user’s client makes its way through the AWS global network to the ideal endpoint group, in particular, AWS Regions. Every endpoint group comprises of one or more application endpoints.
  • Finally, Global Accelerator ensures that it routes traffic to the ideal endpoints on the basis of performance and policies eligible for configuration.

Functionalities of Global Accelerator

Following a thorough overview of the way in which Global Accelerator works, it is important to understand the different ways you can use it. With AWS Global Accelerator, users can achieve the following functionalities.

  • Users can associate the static IP addresses for AWS resources or endpoints through Global Accelerator. The IP addresses are provisioned through Anycast from the AWS edge locations for ensuring onboarding to AWS global network in the proximity of users.
  • It is easy to ensure the migration of endpoints between AWS Regions and Availability Zones without any need for modifications in client-facing applications or updates for your DNS configuration.
  • AWS Global Accelerator can help in controlling the proportion of traffic routed to each endpoint in an endpoint group through the assignment of weights through all endpoints.
  • Scaling the traffic up or down for a particular AWS Region through the configuration of a dual traffic percentage for specific endpoint groups is possible through Global Accelerator.                                                                                    Therefore, it can help in ensuring the effectiveness of testing performance and update releases.

Pricing of Global Accelerator

Therefore, you can clearly notice that Global Accelerator is the most suitable option for maintaining your application performance. The advantages of security, scalability, and ease of management are promising aspects of running cloud-based applications. However, one of the important concerns, i.e. AWS Global Accelerator pricing tends to be an unresolved doubt. Regarding the pricing for Global Accelerator, you have to pay only $0.025 for every hour for each ‘accelerator’.

In addition, the AWS Global Accelerator pricing would also include the amount of traffic flowing through it. You will be charged only for the use of the dominant direction of traffic. For instance, if 60% of your total traffic accounts as outbound, then the pricing only considers the outbound traffic. The charge comes along with the standard data transfer prices. In addition, the price also depends on the edge locations and regions used.

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Benefits of Global Accelerator

Every tutorial on AWS Global Accelerator is incomplete without an outline of its benefits. As discussed till now, you can identify that Global Accelerator can present noticeable advantages for application availability and performance. Let us expand on the benefits of Global Accelerator in detail as follows.

  • The Facility of Responsive Regional Failover

Global Accelerator constantly checks for application health automatically and ensures routing of user traffic to healthy application endpoints only. In case of any configuration updates or status modifications, Global Accelerator can react instantly for routing users to the nearest available endpoint.

  • Fine-Grained Control

AWS Global Accelerator documentation also emphasizes on the efficient granular control. It helps in setting a traffic dial for regional endpoint groups that helps in scaling traffic up or down for a particular AWS Region. This feature can support users during application updates or performance testing.

Most important of all, in the case of stateful applications, users can opt for routing all requests from one user to a particular endpoint. Interestingly, the source port and protocol don’t have any impact on control over scalability. Therefore, users can achieve better client affinity alongside improving their granular control.

  • Performance Improvement

As you must know by now, AWS Global Accelerator helps in ingressing traffic from the nearest edge location to end clients through Anycast static IP addresses. Then, the movement of traffic through the AWS global network to the endpoint in an AWS region is very simple. Global Accelerator selects the ideal AWS region according to the geographical location of end clients. The latency reduction use cases of Global Accelerator clearly show its capabilities for improving performance by 60%. Surely a clear indication of Global Accelerator’s capabilities, isn’t it?

  • Limited Variations for Clients Caching IP Addresses

Configuration updates, changes in routing preferences or application failures can result in excessive delays in recovering the updated IP addresses. However, Global Accelerator doesn’t imply depending on IP address caching settings of client devices. It ensures the propagation of change within a few seconds, thereby reducing application downtime.

  • Better Ease of Management

The static IP addresses with AWS Global Accelerator provide a single entry point to applications. Therefore, enterprises could ensure the migration of endpoints between AWS Regions and Availability Zones. In addition, proxies could also whitelist the application’s IP addresses in their firewalls. As a result, you don’t have to incur any form of downtime in various use cases such as application updates, DNS configuration, client-facing applications, failover simulations or A/B testing.

Comparisons between Global Accelerator and CloudFront

So, if it is about improving performance and availability, enterprises would also look towards other alternatives. One of the notable aspects that arise in this case refers to AWS Global Accelerator vs CloudFront. However, it is essential to note that both are different services that utilize the AWS global network and edge locations worldwide.

CloudFront is capable of improving the performance of dynamic content such as dynamic site delivery or API acceleration as well as cacheable content like images or videos. Global Accelerator, on the other hand, provides performance improvement across a variety of applications on TCP or UDP through the proxy of packets at the edge to applications operational in multiple AWS Regions.

Therefore, AWS Global Accelerator is ideal for non-HTTP use cases like Voice over IP, gaming (UDP), or IoT (MQTT). In addition, it is also suitable for HTTP use cases that demand static IP addresses or rapid, deterministic regional failover. Another noticeable aspect of the AWS Global Accelerator vs CloudFront debate refers to their similarities. Both Global Accelerator and CloudFront integrate effectively with AWS Shield for ensuring DDoS safeguards.

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Bottom Line

Therefore, you could now easily start off with Global Accelerator for your own application. It is easy to get started by configuring the AWS Global Accelerator through the AWS Management Console or API. Upon the creation of an accelerator for your application, Global Accelerator provisions two static IP addresses to the application. Then, you can configure the service for allowing one or more listeners for processing inbound connections from the accelerator to end clients.

The next process involves the configuration of endpoint groups and then register the endpoints for endpoint groups. Most important of all, official AWS documentation is the best source of information on getting started with Global Accelerator. Choose the path to perfection and higher performance with Amazon’s Global Accelerator right now.

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