Microsoft, Equinix Offering Direct Connections to Windows Azure Inside IBX Data Centers

Phil Schwarzmann
Microsoft, Equinix Offering Direct Connections to Windows Azure Inside IBX Data Centers

Equinix customers can now directly connect to Windows Azure at multiple data centers across the U.S. The solution, known as Windows Azure ExpressRoute, provides a secure, private, virtual connection from Equinix to the Windows Azure cloud platform of services.

The strategic alliance between Microsoft and Equinix addresses concerns persistently expressed by enterprises about the security and reliability of cloud computing.

It enables enterprise customers to use dedicated, high-speed links to shift information and applications between Windows Azure and the IT infrastructure they’ve located at Equinix.

These quick, clean connections to Windows Azure via Platform Equinix™ can reduce network costs and latency and provide more consistent network performance than Internet-based connections.

The Equinix-Microsoft partnership was announced in October, and ExpressRoute is now available to a limited number of US customers as part of a “public preview” offering at Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. The service will be generally available in additional locations globally starting in Q2 2014.

The offering comes as enterprises worldwide move to cloud computing, drawn by the efficiencies created when physical computing infrastructure is replaced with virtual equivalents in the cloud. Cisco forecasts that by 2017 nearly two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud.

But the route to the cloud isn’t always smooth. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Networking Survey, enterprises cited data protection security as the top obstacle to successful implementation of cloud services. That was followed by the availability and reliability of cloud applications.

Windows Azure ExpressRoute and Equinix provide customers with a stable and fully redundant path to and from their cloud. They can treat their work with Windows Azure like it’s happening on their local area network, which allows for full integration of cloud services and internal applications. A direct connection also improves reliability and flexibility.

Microsoft says Windows Azure customers can now “meet” them at the peering exchanges – hosted by Equinix – which enterprises and network service providers use to improve network efficiency.

And Windows Azure customers also have entry to Equinix’s rich ecosystems, which host 1,200 cloud and IT service providers, as well as 975 networks. That gives enterprises the broadest selection of cloud services so they can create an architecture that best meets their needs. Customers also have the flexibility to use the bandwidth that best fits their needs.

For more information or to sign up for the public preview, go to