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How Rackspace uses CloudEndure to accelerate workload migration to AWS: Part Two


If you haven’t read Part One, of this series, take a look before reading this post. In this concluding installment, I describe the AWS Transit Gateway and AWS Client VPN configuration.

AWS Transit Gateway configuration

Rackspace automates much of the infrastructure creation, but the following sections describe the main AWS services’ configuration included in this post. Refer to AWS documentation for detailed instructions.

Within the Transit Gateway console, create a new Transit Gateway. Make sure to allow the Auto accept shared attachments option to enable cross-account attachments.

In this example, I use AWS Direct Connect, so I created a Direct Connect Gateway associated with Transit Gateway. This allows IP connectivity between AWS and the on-premises data center.

To allow VPCs from external AWS accounts to attach to Transit Gateway, I created a Transit Gateway Resource share by using Resource Access Manager (RAM).

Steps to configure Transit Gateway

You need to take three steps to allow Transit Gateway Attachments from external accounts to complete successfully:

  1. Create a resource share for Transit Gateway within RAM. Add external account IDs to allow successful cross-account attachment to the Transit Gateway.
  1. Accept the Transit Gateway Share in all external accounts by navigating to the RAM console and accepting the resource share.
  1. Create a Transit Gateway attachment for each VPC that you need to connect to Transit Gateway. Make sure to select the newly available shared transit gateway.

After the Transit Gateway configuration completes, you see all VPC attachments in the Transit Gateway console along with the attachment to Direct Connect Gateway.

With route propagation enabled for Transit Gateway, you also see routes to each connected network.

Finally, you must add routes to the route tables for each VPC attached to the Transit Gateway. This action ensures that each VPC knows to send traffic designed for other attached VPCs to the Transit Gateway.

Traffic arriving at a VPC that does not have the relevant return routes configured tries to return via the default route and ultimately gets dropped. In the following example, this is the NAT Gateway.

AWS Client VPN configuration

AWS VPN users can traverse different networks connected through AWS Transit Gateway if authorized to do so. You can configure authorization and authentication with Active Directory, mutual (certificate-based), and SSO through SAML-Based federated authentication. By adding users to groups within AWS Directory Services, you can authorize them to access specific networks through AWS Client VPN configuration. The remainder of this post focuses on providing authorization via Active Directory group membership.

Preparation

I have detailed the main steps to set up AWS Client VPN in this section. Refer to AWS documentation for detailed instructions.

  1. To start, create a new AWS Simple AD. You can use an existing AWS AD or an on-premises Active Directory by configuring an AD Connector. I like to use AWS Simple AD to keep identities separate and secure. After you do this, create a new Client VPN Endpoint.
  1. AWS Client VPN needs at least one target network association to enable clients to connect to it and establish a VPN connection. All subnet associations must be from the VPC you selected during setup. If you did not select a VPC during setup, you can select any VPC in your account, but all subsequent subnet associations must then come from that VPC.
  1. Grant VPN users access to remote networks by creating authorizations. As a best practice, have an authorization rule for each network to which you want to grant access. The following example shows access granted to different networks based on Active Directory group membership. Rackspace migration engineers can access only the VPC housing the CloudEndure project and the source migration data center. In contrast, Internal IT staff can access only the source data center and the migration target VPC. Allowing VPN users access to all networks has been denied in favor of more granular AD group membership control.
About Group ID and the route table

Group ID is the security identifier (SID) of the Active Directory groups authorized to access a given network. It’s important when using Active Directory groups to add the security identifier (SID) of the Active Directory group to make sure authorization is operational.

The AWS Client VPN route table provides routes to each of the destination networks available in the solution. In this example, we can see the following routes.

  • Default route: Created automatically by AWS when we associate subnets from the VPC that Client VPC is associated with.

  • Route to data center: Added manually to provide access to the source data center. The route goes via AWS Transit Gateway.

  • Migration target VPC: Added manually to provide access to the migration target network. This route goes via AWS Transit Gateway if it is external to the VPC associated with AWS Client VPC.

When adding a new route, we use the subnets associated with the VPC selected during the Client VPN endpoint creation (Step3) as the next hop. Network packets are then routed via the VPC router to the Transit Gateway.

For redundancy, I have created two routes for each destination by using subnets from both zones of the associated VPC attached to Client VPN endpoint.

Configure the Client VPN

The AWS VPN client is free to download. To connect to the AWS Client VPN service, use the following steps to get up and running:

  1. Download and install AWS VPN client software from AWS.
  1. Download the AWS Client VPN configuration from the Client VPN endpoint console.
  1. Import AWS Client VPN configuration into the Client software
  1. Log in to AWS Client VPN with a user who belongs to an authorised AD Group.

Administrative access to compute resources becomes much more flexible, allowing you to work from the office or home. After you connect, you have IP connectivity from your local workstation to any network connected to Transit Gateway. You can transfer files between connected networks and log on to the console of any compute instances for which you are authorized.

Summary

At Rackspace, our Professional Services teams wrap governance and process around a migration into AWS. Through clear project management, we make sure to migrate applications into AWS in the right order according to business goals and objectives.

Rackspace migration engineers will set up and configure AWS CloudEndure Migration on your behalf, setting up replication from the source data center into the relevant CloudEndure project within AWS. Rackspace architects design target VPCs to include complimentary AWS services, such as load balancing, caching, or managed database services. Then, Rackspace engineers deploy the target VPCs, and they are ready to receive replicated workloads.

To learn more about how Rackspace Professional services can assist with your business challenges related to digital transformation, migration, and application modernization, visit our website.

Learn more about Rackspace AWS services.

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Alan Day

As an experienced and results-driven IT Professional with 19 years' experience within both the public and private sectors, I draw on competencies and expertise spanning multiple platforms and configurations related to pre-sales, consultancy, architecture & design, implementation, and configuration. I love being outdoors and walking the dog each day to rack up the miles and keep fit. I’m passionate about cooking and spend much of my free time researching recipes from around the world. Some dishes are more successful than others after translation to the plate, but it’s always a good night!

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