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Creating MCR Connections to Alibaba Express Connect

The Alibaba private interconnection service is called Express Connect. Alibaba Express Connect enables customers to create private connections between their remote network environments and their Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) deployments.

When connecting to Alibaba Cloud services through Express Connect with Megaport ONE, the Virtual Cross Connect (VXC) forms the Layer 2 component of the connection and Layer 3 BGP is established directly between the customer and their private environment with Alibaba Cloud VPC.

Benefits of Alibaba Express connections with MCR

  • Enhanced security and higher network performance
  • Scalable connectivity options
  • API integration between Megaport ONE and Alibaba which simplifies the provisioning of connections for a fast and seamless experience.
  • Connect to Alibaba Cloud on-ramp locations through any of the global Megaport cloud onramps.
  • Connect with the Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN). For details, see What is CEN? in the Alibaba Cloud documentation.

Creating a VXC to the Alibaba Cloud

Before you can create a connection to the Alibaba Cloud, you need to have an Alibaba account (you can create one in the Alibaba Console). Your account number is required to create your Megaport VXC.

To get your Alibaba account ID

  • Log in to the Alibaba Cloud Console and retrieve your account ID.
    When logged in, click your avatar icon located in the upper-right corner and copy your Account ID.
    Alibaba Account ID

To create a VXC to your Alibaba Express Connect peer location

  1. In the Megaport ONE Portal, select the MCR to attach your VXC to, click Actions and select Add Connection.
    If you haven’t already created an MCR, see Creating an MCR.

    Select Destination Port

  2. Select Cloud Virtual Cross Connect from the Connection Type drop-down menu.

  3. Select Alibaba Cloud as the provider.
    Alibaba Provider

  4. Select the target destination for your connection.

  5. Enter your Alibaba Cloud Account ID copied from the Alibaba Console.
    Account ID

  6. Specify these connection details:

    • VXC Name – The name of your VXC to be shown in the Megaport ONE Portal.

      Note

      Partner managed accounts can apply a Partner Deal to a service. For details, see Applying a Deal to a Service.

    • Rate Limit – The speed of your connection in Mbps.

  7. Optionally, specify a unique identifying number to be used as a service level reference for billing purposes, such as a cost center number or a unique customer ID. The service level reference number appears for each service under the Product section of the invoice. You can also edit this field for an existing service.

    The MCR connection configuration will be generated automatically. Once the service is live you can modify the configuration.

  8. If you have a promo code, enter it and click Add Code.

  9. Click Create Connection.

  10. Click Confirm.

Configuring a BGP connection

You can configure a BGP connection after the MCR is live.

To configure BGP

  1. Choose Networking > Services.

  2. Select the MCR or use the search filter to locate and select an MCR.

  3. Click the right arrow to show all VXCs connected to the MCR.

  4. Select the VXC and select the A-End Configuration tab.

  5. Click Edit.

  6. Click Add BGP Connection.

    IP Details

  7. Specify these connection details:

    • Local IP – Select the IP address assigned to the MCR from the drop-down list.

    • Peer IP – Select the second available IP address in the /30 CIDR.

    • Peer ASN – Enter 45104, which is the peer ASN for Alibaba. The peer ASN is always 45104. As a best practice we recommend that you confirm the ASN when configuring the Megaport end.

    • AS Path Prepend – Optionally, enter the number of times to add the local ASN to the BGP path to prioritize route advertisements. Enter an integer within the range of 1 to 10.

    • BGP Password – Optionally, specify a shared key to authenticate the BGP peer. You will need to use this key when you configure your BGP peer group in the Alibaba Console. The shared key length is from 1 to 25 characters. The key can include any of these characters:
      a-z
      A-Z
      0-9
      ! @ # ? . $ % ^ & * + = -

    • Description – Optionally, enter a description for the connection.

    • BGP State – Shuts down the connection without removing it. The initial setting will be taken from the setting on the A-End of the MCR. Enabling or shutting down the BGP state does not impact existing BGP sessions. The BGP state only affects new VXCs. This setting overrides the MCR state for an individual connection.

  8. Click Confirm.
    The details for the new connection appear.

  9. Click Save.

After you have completed the order and deployed the VXC in the Megaport ONE Portal, you need to accept the connection on the Alibaba end.

To accept the connection in the Alibaba Console

  1. In the Alibaba Console, choose Express Connect > Physical Connections. Physical Connections

  2. Click Accept and Pay next to the new physical connection (the connection that was part of your VXC order).
    Accept and Pay

  3. Click OK to accept the connection.

  4. Choose the duration of the contract and verify the other connection details.
    Duration

  5. Click Buy Now.

  6. Select the payment method in the top right corner and click Pay. The process may vary depending on the chosen payment method.

  7. Verify the details and click Purchase.

Once your payment is complete, a confirmation screen appears. Click Console to return to the Alibaba Console.

At this point, the physical connection status changes to Up.

Next, you will connect the physical connection to a VBR (Virtual Border Router) to complete the connection with Megaport.

If you already configured a VBR, attach it to the physical connection. If you do not have a VBR, follow the steps in the next section.

To create a VBR and BGP peer group

  1. In the Alibaba Console, click the instance name of the physical connection.
    Select Physical Connection

  2. Click Create VBR.
    Create VBR button

  3. Specify these VBR details:

    • Name – Enter a name for the VBR.
    • Physical Connection Information – Confirm the physical connection that this VRB will attach to.
    • VLAN ID and Set VBR Bandwidth Value – VLAN ID and speed are preconfigured based on the physical connection you selected.
    • Peer details – The peer details should match the MCR end of the connection from the Megaport ONE Portal. Enter the correct IP address for the relevant peer.
      Create VBR
  4. Click OK.
    The new VBR appears on the Connected VBRs tab and is attached to the physical connection. The Bandwidth Status of the VBR is Not Activated until you configure the BGP details that correspond with those configured on the MCR.
    Connected VBRs

    Note

    You can also view the connection status in the MCR Looking Glass. The Megaport side of the connection will be down (red X) until BGP is configured.

  5. Click the newly created VBR.

  6. In the BGP Groups tab, click Create BGP Group.
    Create BGP Group

  7. Specify these details:

    • Name – Optionally, enter a name for the group.
    • Peer ASN – Enter the ASN assigned to the MCR. The MCR ASN is typically 133937, unless you choose to override the ASN when creating the BGP peer in the Megaport ONE Portal. If you have specified a local ASN to override the default ASN, enter it here.
    • BGP Key – If you entered a BGP password in the Megaport ONE Portal, enter the same password here.
    • Description – Optionally, enter a group description.
      Create BGP Group

    Once configured, your new BGP group appears in the BGP Groups list: BGP Group

To create the BGP Peer

  1. In the Alibaba Console, select the instance name of the physical connection.

  2. Select the BGP Peers tab and click Create BGP Peer.
    BGP Peers tab

  3. Select the new BGP peer group from the drop-down list (the peer group that maps to the MCR ASN).
    Create BGP Peer

  4. Enter the MCR IP address as the BGP Peer IP (configured in step 7 of To create a VXC to your Alibaba Express Connect peer location.

    Note

    Initially, when you complete the BGP Peer configuration the BGP Connection Status is Unestablished. It might take a few moments for the peers to start communicating. After the BGP peers are exchanging data, the BGP status in the Alibaba Console changes to Established. In the MCR Looking Glass in the Megaport ONE Portal, the BGP status changes to a green checkmark.

For more details on setting up BGP groups and peers, see Configure and manage BGP in the Alibaba Document Center.

Additional notes when setting up BGP

  • You can only specify the data center as the BGP peer of a VBR.
  • VBRs support only BGP-4.
  • You can create a maximum of eight BGP peers for each VBR.
  • Each BGP peer supports at most 110 dynamic routes.
  • Bidirectional Forwarding Detection (BFD) is disabled for VBRs by default. To enable BFD, submit a ticket to Alibaba.

Last update: 2023-01-21