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By: Brien M. Posey

There are a few options to connect to a VMware Cloud on AWS, of which using an AWS Direct Connect connection is turning out to be the most popular. Using a Direct Connect offers numerous benefits, such as increased bandwidth and better latency performance. Using a direct connection can also help organizations experience a more consistent level of cloud throughput.

Because a direct connection serves as a link between an organization’s local data center resources and its cloud-based resources, it’s crucial to monitor the Direct Connect to ensure it continues to perform at the expected level.

Direct Connect Discovery

vRealize Network Insight version 5.2 and higher lets organizations monitor traffic passing over a Direct Connect between the organization’s own data center and the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC (software-defined data center). In doing so, administrators can identify individual flows and use flow analytics to quantify bandwidth usage and packet rates. 

Before you can view this information within vRealize Network Insight, you need to add vCenter and NSX Manager as data sources. To do so, click the Settings icon and then click Settings. When the Settings screen appears, select the Data Sources tab and click the Add New Sources button. From there, start with the VMC vCenter and add the VMC NSX Manager after. The VMC Direct Connect will be automatically discovered from these two data sources.

Because vRealize Network Insight has a deep understanding of the VMware infrastructure, it can give administrators detailed path topologies for virtual machine workloads that span the on-premises and VMware cloud environments. For vRealize Network Insight to display this information, you’ll have to add all routers in the network path, such as the Cisco N9K or the ASR 9K. Once you get all network devices in vRealize Network Insight, you can request end-to-end path topologies, like this one:

Path topology with Direct Connect

The vRealize Network Insight interface provides information about Direct Connect. The VMC Direct Connect page displays a basic overview, including the SDDC associated with the Direct Connect, the local ASN, and the available routes (both learned and advertised). This page also shows you the virtual interfaces that are associated with Direct Connect, as well as any Direct Connect-related events. As helpful as this information may be, you’ll need to leverage the search interface if you want to see flow information.

Useful Searches for Direct Connect

The process of constructing a Direct Connect-related search isn’t all that different from performing any other search. The same techniques you use to create a flow query in your on-premises environment can also be used to query the flows that are passing across the Direct Connect. The only difference is that you’ll need to set the flow type to Direct Connect. In most cases, it’s also helpful to group the flows.

Suppose, for instance, you want to see all of your Direct Connect flows and want to group them by connection. To do so, you could use the following search query:

Flows where flow type = 'Direct Connect' group by Connection

 

Similarly, you can get vRealize Network Insight to display a count of the flows, as well as the number of packets that each Direct Connect interface is handling by entering a query like this:

sum(packets) of Flows where flow type = 'Direct Connect' group by connection

 

In the examples that follow, the connection ID is formed as “BGPAS-NSXMANAGERIP”. There are several different search query options related to Direct Connect. For example, you can use vRealize Network Insight to find the maximum data volume being passed over Direct Connect. To get this information, you’d use a query similar to this one:

max(series(sum(bytes))) of flows where connection = '7224-10.73.185.131' and flow type ='Different Dc' and source VM is set and destination VM is set and flow type = 'Direct Connect'

 

Search result

You can expand on this technique and find the maximum data volume passing over Direct Connect en route to a specific destination. For instance, you could get the maximum Direct Connect data volume to the Internet by using this query: 

max(series(sum(bytes))) of flows where connection = '7224-10.73.185.131' and flow type = 'Destination is Internet' and flow type = 'Direct Connect'

 

As you can see, this query uses ‘Destination is Internet’ and sets the flow type to Direct Connect. You can use a similar query to find out the maximum volume of data flowing between data centers over Direct Connect. Here’s an example of such a query:

max(series(sum(bytes))) of flows where connection = '7224-10.73.185.131' and flow type ='Different Dc' and flow type = 'Direct Connect' and source vm is set and destination vm is set group by Source Dc, Destination Dc

 

These are just a few examples of the types of queries you can perform for Direct Connect. You can find the complete documentation on VMware’s Direct Connect Search Queries page. 

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