In a piece of good news for the enterprise, Microsoft has announced that they will be offering private, managed Azure ExpressRoute connections to Office 365 and Skype for Business. And in a piece of good news for Equinix, we’ve been named one of the early partners in this initiative with our Cloud Exchange.
The ExpressRoute connectivity to Office 365 will be available in the second half of the year. In a blog post announcing the offering, Microsoft said it’s something their customers have been asking for since ExpressRoute launched last year.
The new connection to Office 365 will offer “predictable network performance, the ability to better manage network availability and the reliability that comes with dedicated connectivity,” according to Microsoft. And Microsoft is highlighting the Skype for Business connectivity as a way to help the enterprise better manage media quality, end-to-end.
Equinix was one of the first ExpressRoute partners and today we offer ExpressRoute’s direct connection to the Azure public cloud in 15 markets globally via the Equinix Cloud Exchange.
Microsoft’s announcement means the enterprise can use their existing MPLS or wide area network (WAN) infrastructure to get high speed, secure access to Office 365. And if they access ExpressRoute through Equinix, they can use the Cloud Exchange to dynamically manage and allocate their bandwidth requirement, so specific applications get the priority they need to deliver the performance they require – across a single port.
Ultimately, private access to Office 365 means lower latency and higher performing connections (not to mention the security benefits of avoiding the public Internet), providing business grade performance and end user experiences that enterprises are demanding as they increasingly adopt Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.
For instance, companies have long been running Word or Excel online from Office 365 with confidence. Now, with the new ExpressRoute connection to Office 365, they can run Lync, Microsoft’s audio and video collaboration tool, across regions with the same confidence, even though Lync places higher demands on the network.
Stay tuned as the ExpressRoute connection to Office 365 becomes available in the coming months. In the meantime, take some time to learn more about Equinix Cloud Exchange.