Connecting 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, 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 Megaport

  • Enhanced security and higher network performance
  • Scalable connectivity options
  • API integration between Megaport 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-enabled locations
  • Connect with the Alibaba Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN). For details, see the What is Cloud Enterprise Network? in the Alibaba documentation.

Creating a VXC to the Alibaba Cloud

Before you can create a connection to 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 top right-hand corner and copy your Account ID.
    Alibaba account ID

To create a VXC to your Alibaba Express Connect peer location

  1. In the Megaport Portal, find the Port to attach your VXC and click +Connection.
    This example uses Alibaba Express Connect as the selected Port.
    If you haven’t already created a Port, see Creating a Port.

    Add a connection

  2. Click the Cloud tile and click Next.
    Cloud tile

  3. Select Alibaba Cloud as the provider.
    Alibaba provider

  4. Select the target location for your connection and click Next.

  5. Specify these connection details:

    • Connection Name - The name of your VXC to be shown in the Megaport Portal.

    • Service Level Reference (optional) – Specify a unique identifying number for the VXC to be used 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.


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

    • Rate Limit - This is the speed of your connection in Mbps.

    • Preferred A-End VLAN - Optionally, specify an unused VLAN ID for this connection. This must be a unique VLAN ID on this Port and can range from 2 to 4093. If you specify a VLAN ID that is already in use, the system displays the next available VLAN number. The VLAN ID must be unique to proceed with the order. If you don’t specify a value, Megaport will assign one.

      Alternatively, you can click Untag to remove the VLAN tagging for this connection. The untagged option limits you to only one VXC deployed on this Port.

  6. Click Next.

  7. Enter the Account ID copied from your Alibaba Console and click Next.
    Account ID

  8. Add the VXC to your cart and configure further VXCs or proceed through the checkout process.

    Once you have completed and deployed the VXC in the Portal, return to the Alibaba Console and in the Express Connect section, find the new connection under Virtual Border Router (VBR). It will take a few minutes from the time you deploy the VXC for the connection to appear in the Alibaba Console. Make sure you select the Express Connect Region you selected in the Portal to find your connection under VBR.
    Confirm connection

  9. Click Confirm Creation.

  10. Complete the VBR information.
    Complete the Name and Description fields (do not use spaces).

    Specify the Private IPs to set up BGP between your CE and Alibaba VBR.
    You can use a /30 or /31 represented by the subnet mask. This example uses a /30 subnet mask
    VBR details

  11. Click OK.
    The status changes to normal. Your Layer 2 connection has now been established and the Megaport VXC is complete.

  12. Establish BGP.
    This requires you to create a BGP Group and BGP Peer in the Alibaba Console. For more detail on setting up BGP groups and peers, see Configure BGP in the Alibaba documentation center.

    Additional notes when setting up BGP:

    • VBR only supports building BGP peers with a peer on-premises Internet data center (IDC), and still need to use static routing to communicate with a VPC.

    • The supported BGP version is BGP4.

    • VBR supports IPv4 BGP but does not support IPv6 BGP.

    • Up to eight BGP peers can be created under each VBR.

    • Up to 100 dynamic route entries can be added to a BGP peer.

    • The Alibaba Cloud-side ASN is 45104. The customer side can transmit a 2-byte or 4-byte ASN.

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