Demystifying Direct Link Offerings

3 min read

Direct Link (2.0) and Direct Link on Classic (1.0) are hybrid cloud connectivity services providing secure, private, high-bandwidth connectivity between customer on-premises and IBM Cloud resources.

Currently, IBM Cloud Direct Link has two offerings — Dedicated and Connect — whereas Direct Link on Classic has four offerings: —Dedicated, Connect, Exchange and Dedicated Hosting.

Note: The "on Classic" 1.0 version of Exchange and Connect are combined into the latest Connect offering. Also, Dedicated Hosting is currently in development for 2022.

Property comparison  

Default BGP IP address range for automation

  • Direct Link:
  • Direct Link on Classic: 

Manual IP address range supported

  • Direct Link:,,, any public IP addresses
  • Direct Link on Classic: None

BGP ASN supported

  • Direct Link: Allowed to use any ASN outside these blocked ranges: 0, 13884, 36351, 64512, 64513, 65100, 65201‍–‍65234, 65402‍–‍65433, 65500 and 4201065000‍–‍4201065999
  • Direct Link on Classic: Allowed to use any ASN outside these blocked ranges: 0, 13884, 36351, 64512, 64513, 65100, 65201‍–‍65234, 65402‍–‍65433, 65500, and 4201065000‍–‍4201065999


  • Direct Link: Metered based on the data utilization and unmetered flat rate support.
  • Direct Link on Classic: Supports only monthly flat rate billing.

VPC connectivity

  • Direct Link: Supports connectivity to multiple VPCs and connects to SoftLayer classic networks.
  • Direct Link on Classic: No VPC connectivity — can connect only to SoftLayer classic networks.

Cross-account connectivity

  • Direct Link: Allows VPC connectivity between IBM Cloud accounts, except for classic-access VPCs (see Adding a cross-account (VPC only) connection for details).
  • Direct Link on Classic: Allows classic network connectivity within the account only.

Bring Your Own IP (BYOIP)


  • Direct Link: Free global routing.
  • Direct Link on Classic: Global routing has a monthly flat rate charge.


  • Direct Link: Automation for Dedicated and Connect offerings. Fully automated single-click ordering experience with the providers Packet Fabric, Cologix, British Telecom and DE-CIX. For automation information, see Provider-specific instructions.
  • Direct Link on Classic: Full automation for Equinix Exchange and Colt Connect offerings. The rest of the ordering process is partially automated and requires manual configuration.


  • Direct Link: All MZRs have Direct Link (2.0) offering support. SZR support is being rolled out on a location-by-location basis.
  • Direct Link on Classic: All IBM Cloud data centers and PoP locations have Direct Link on Classic support.


  • Direct Link: MACsec support is available in CHI01 and WDC02. Compatible with Cisco switches.
  • Direct Link on Classic: No support

100G NNI

  • Direct Link: Selected MZRs have higher Connect speeds: 10 Gbps, 25 Gbps, 40 Gbps, 50 Gbps and 100 Gbps support via 100G NNIs
  • Direct Link on Classic: No support

Account in VRF

  • Direct Link: If the account is used for VPC connectivity only, there is no need to migrate to VRF. If SoftLayer classic network connectivity is required, then the account needs a VRF migration.
  • Direct Link on Classic: VRF migration is required.

BGP authentication

  • Direct Link: Supported for Dedicated and Connect offerings through automation. Need to store the MD5 secret in Key Protect or an HPCS instance in the customer account.
  • Direct Link on Classic: You can open an IBM Support ticket to enable this feature for all Direct Link on Classic offerings.

Configuration details for Direct Link offerings

Note: BGP authentication key setup details are mentioned in Setting up BGP Message Digest 5 (MD5) authentication keys.

Learn more about IBM Cloud Direct Link.

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