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Equinix, Microsoft Team on Azure Connection

Carol Wilson

Microsoft is moving its Azure ExpressRoute cloud service into mass deployment and partnering with Equinix to do so, the two companies announced today. (See Microsoft Uses Equinix for Azure Cloud Connection.)

The partnership will bring Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to Equinix IBX data centers in 16 global markets, providing the direct connection between enterprise premises-based networks/apps and the Microsoft Azure cloud.

The deal is the latest partnership aimed at making hybrid clouds possible and practical, linking what enterprises do on-prem and in private clouds with their reliability and performance, to what they can achieve in the public cloud in terms of scale.

"The architecture we are seeing a lot of companies try to stand up is a truly elastic environment where they can get 1-gig or 10-gig capacity into the public cloud and now they now have a logical place to stand up their private cloud and be able to move those workloads seamlessly between the two," Chris Sharp, VP, Cloud Innovation for Equinix, tells Light Reading. "This is providing them with an extremely efficient way to access that network coming into the ExpressRoute infrastructure."

Microsoft is deploying its physical infrastructure for Azure ExpressRoute service in the Equinix data centers, and enterprises can reach that service via an Equinix cross-connect, getting high throughput and extremely low latency in the process, Sharp says. Because Equinix also provides interconnection into hundreds of networks, it offers the ability to scale globally.

The idea is to support a variety of workloads, from the companies running virtual desktops and needing very low latency, to those who are content with wide area network connections for less latency-sensitive applications.

Why this matters
Cloud services continue to evolve to be more practical and flexible, and the cloud market competition continues to heat up. With this move, Microsoft is hoping to do with Axure ExpressRoute something similar to what Amazon Web Services is now offering with Direct Connect, enabling enterprises to directly tie their on-premises operations with the cloud in a way that makes the most sense.

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— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/23/2014 | 2:51:25 PM
Verizon similarities
Reminds me of Verizon's cloud interlink service (which I see you included in your related links), only Verizon connects with its own cloud and other vendors, not just Microsoft Azure. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/23/2014 | 1:23:01 PM
Impact on SaaS
I attended Microsoft's Azure Developer workshops last month (well, attended as much as possible while trying to work projects...I've downloaded the full presentation for viewing, ah, much later on...) and was impressed with the intergration with Visual Studio.

That aside, the security aspects and cost aspects of giving up your data to one large entity would seem to be a big drag for cloud adoption.   Being able to run the same cloud inside your network is a great idea.   Many data centers now are essentially kinda-sorta clouds with various technologies to push apps through platforms and firewalls for testing and deploying in ever more stringent environments.

Once we get to a Inner-Outer Cloud environment or say an Azure-AWS interface, what is the interfacing technology I wonder.  Is it still SaaS/SOA (Software as a Service/Service Oriented Architecture) or Web Services with http/https channels?   Or does the interface exist at some lower level that makes it more like hooking up to the database next door?  Who knows, with SOA being part function, part channel, perhaps SDN could become an application switchboard.

User Rank: Light Sabre
4/22/2014 | 6:03:06 PM
Is it like direct-connect or is part of the compute-infra hosted in Equinix ? How much is the performance gain ?
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