Exciting Time to be an Enterprise CIO: Microsoft and Equinix are changing the Game

Brian Lillie
Exciting Time to be an Enterprise CIO: Microsoft and Equinix are changing the Game


As an Enterprise CIO, I am excited about today’s announcement regarding the global availability of Microsoft’s new offering, Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute. With this new solution, Microsoft has addressed several challenges Enterprise CIOs face in moving to the public cloud, or implementing what is, in my opinion, the perfect IT architecture, hybrid cloud. What problems did they solve? The benefits of this access model are:

  • Instant connection
  • Flexible and dynamic
  • Anywhere access

These benefits are a reflection of how cloud is evolving from today’s model to a more efficient and scalable consumption model.

Historically, access to the cloud has been accomplished via the public internet and while this model has worked well for SaaS applications and light compute regimes, it also created perceived adoption barriers for enterprises such as:

  • Low throughput, high latency
  • Data loss and privacy risk
  • Unsecure, unreliable

At Equinix, we have been building business ecosystems across our global interconnection platform, Platform Equinix™. At the heart of these communities are our 975 network service providers and, more recently, the 500+ cloud and IT service providers to whom/which businesses are connecting to reap the rewards of interconnection.. This model has been very successful to date, lowering adoption barriers and making connections more private and more secure, with scalable and consistent throughput.

What this model doesn’t solve fully solve for some enterprise customers are requirements including on-demand physical installations, which more closely match the instant nature of cloud.

Herein lies the reason I am enthusiastic about the work we are doing with Microsoft on ExpressRoute. The next generation interconnection being launched through this partnership is positioned to solve remaining challenges for enterprise CIOs (like me!). A few of the issues being resolved with the ExpressRoute solution are:

  • More secure and private
  • Consistent throughput
  • Flexible and dynamic
  • Reduced provisioning times

The ExpressRoute solution leverages an Equinix switching fabric that provides secure connectivity and real-time provisioning, Microsoft’s physical infrastructure for Azure ExpressRoute sits in Equinix’s data centers and enables companies to bridge their cloud and data center strategies. Enterprise CIOs will be able to fully integrate between cloud services and internal applications, while experiencing flexible and dynamic bandwidth through automated provisioning. As a result, companies will benefit from the scale, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the cloud by using Azure as a seamless extension to their own networks – all without the complexities historically associated with traditional network interconnection.

What’s also exciting is that this is truly global service. As you know, clouds exist in regions or countries and are best accessed locally for top performance. Microsoft recognized this business need and together we decided to scale this solution in 16 markets across four continents leveraging Equinix’s data centers, meaning for the first time ever enterprises will be able to connect directly to the Microsoft Azure cloud in their local market. At the same time, enterprises can scale globally across Equinix’s footprint and interconnect with more than 4,500 other service providers and businesses worldwide. Enterprises are on the move to the cloud, and the ExpressRoute offering accelerates this migration enabling what I believe is “IT Nirvana” — secure and reliable hybrid clouds!

ExpressRoute is available today in Equinix IBX data centers in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C. and London For more information or to sign up for the public preview, please check out http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/expressroute/.

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Brian Lillie Former Chief Product Officer, Chief Customer Officer, and Chief Information Officer at Equinix 2008 - 2019
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