The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused an extreme shift in user data patterns, pushing traffic to public cloud platforms at a rate and magnitude that challenges even the most robust network infrastructures. As more and more remote workers access cloud services via the public internet ̶ with varying bandwidth capacity, latency and security controls ̶ performance issues and customer trouble tickets are on the rise.
The applications being hit the hardest include collaboration, virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs) and secure user access and authentication. In April, Microsoft reported more than 200 million Microsoft Teams meeting participants in a single day, generating more than 4.1 billion meeting minutes. Around the world, more than 183,000 educational institutions use Teams. [i] The company has also seen a threefold increase in Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) usage and a surge in traffic on its popular consumer-facing applications, including Xbox Live.[ii]
Microsoft and Equinix are working to help enterprise and government customers alleviate their network infrastructure challenges by delivering greater network optimization to remote workers accessing Azure and Microsoft 365. With a laser focus on increased user performance and security, our two companies are helping Microsoft customers to scale their networks to accommodate today’s escalating remote workforce demands and prepare for tomorrow’s business requirements.
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Proactively addressing the home office challenge
As the COVID-19 crisis has driven workers to their home offices, it has created a dramatic spike in internet-based traffic from Microsoft Teams and Skype users. To meet this new demand, Equinix and Microsoft are helping their customers scale their access to Azure cloud services and Microsoft 365 applications by enabling greater network optimization via Equinix Internet Exchange™ ISP aggregation.
The two companies are also working with customers to provide direct and secure low-latency connectivity via Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute and Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™) software-defined interconnection. Remote users are directly and securely accessing Azure and Microsoft 365 over high speed (up to 10G), low-latency connections. Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connections bypass the internet and deliver greater reliability, faster speeds, consistent latencies, and higher security than typical connections over the public internet. Direct and secure interconnection to Azure on Platform Equinix can reduce network latency by over 40%.
Mastering digital transformation in motion
Internet traffic is surging across the board, and it is especially notable to see such a large increase in the adoption of enterprise cloud services. Microsoft customers on Platform Equinix® are well-positioned to support the accelerated shift to flexible and scalable Azure cloud services and Microsoft 365 apps, as their companies fast-track their digital transformation efforts to meet the sudden increase in remote workers worldwide.
During this unprecedented time of increasingly distributed IT consumption, we are helping IT organizations prevent outages and network congestion by enabling on-demand, direct and secure private access to Azure and Microsoft 365. Microsoft and Equinix are providing a series of workshops geared to helping organizations address today’s accelerated digital requirements, and emerge stronger in the months to come:
- Digital Edge Strategy Briefing: Helps you to visualize your global digital transformation and align your key stakeholders with your company’s overall cloud strategy.
- ECX Fabric Planning, Design and Implementation Workshop: Enables you to design a plan to connect to public and private cloud platforms quickly using configuration best practices for deploying hybrid multicloud infrastructures.
- Equinix Cloud Optimized WAN Workshop: Reviews your existing WAN architecture and topology and defines a recommended future state WAN, benefits and cost based on your business objectives and budget.
- Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute Strategy Workshop and Post Design Implementation: Empowers you to implement a Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connectivity strategy tailored to your specific needs, and ensure mission-critical applications and services are closest to your users to optimize performance.
- Equinix Network Edge Planning Workshop & Post Design Implementation: Helps you achieve digital transformation through network automation and digital infrastructure diversification.
As a Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform and Azure Networking MSP Program member, Equinix hosts 26 public Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute metros globally with seven Azure Government Cloud metro locations in the U.S. for a total of 33 deployments worldwide. We have sellers and Global Solution Architects (GSAs) based in 13 Microsoft Areas: U.S., Canada, LATAM, Germany, France, UK, Western Europe, CEE, MEA, Australia, Japan, Greater China and Asia-Pacific. You may contact us directly to request a digital edge strategy briefing or workshop tailored to your business needs.
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[ii] Azure Blog: “Update #2 on Microsoft cloud services continuity,” March 28, 2020.