Microsoft launched a new service called ExpressRoute that offers private, reliable and low latency connections between customer data centers and its Windows Azure public cloud.
ExpressRoute is designed to help maximize customers’ on-premise investments and create hybrid clouds that cost-effectively and securely extend their network beyond their existing data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. This lets enterprises, for instance, easily add computing and storage capacity for large amounts of data applications in applications such as business continuity and disaster recovery, or deploying new cloud applications.
Microsoft is working with partners like AT&T and Equinix to help customers use the Azure cloud as a simple extension of their existing datacenters. This allows customers to aggregate their traffic over private connections at Equinix data centers, or add Azure services to their MPLS VPN provided by AT&T.
Microsoft has also partnered with Level 3 to provide private ExpressRoute connections to Azure via Level 3 Cloud Connect Solutions, offering enterprises greater network performance and data throughput than congested public networks. Level 3 Cloud Connect Solutions and Windows Azure support Level 3’s virtual private LAN service and IP/VPN service for private connections or enable multiple locations to connect to Azure as an extension of the MPLS VPN.
Level 3 and Windows Azure are now accepting limited customer trials of Windows Azure with connectivity at its San Jose, Calif. and Ashburn, Va. facilities. Global availability is scheduled for additional regions throughout the year.