Microsoft, Cisco Collaborate to Fix Azure ExpressRoute Network Issues

The expanded partnership will help joint customers stamp out networking issues on the on-premises side of Azure ExpressRoute hybrid cloud setups.

Microsoft Cisco Team Up on Azure Networking

Microsoft and networking giant Cisco are teaming up to help Azure ExpressRoute customers sort out networking issues that may arise in their hybrid cloud architectures.

Launched in 2014, Azure ExpressRoute offers organizations with stringent security and performance requirements a private and secure link to Microsoft's cloud-computing services. Traffic on ExpressRoute is spared the unpredictability of the public internet, allowing organizations to tap into the software giant's cloud resources faster and with lower latencies, resulting in brisk performance and a more secure way of linking their on-premises systems to Microsoft Azure.

Naturally, Microsoft and its ExpressRoute connectivity providers are adept at fixing any networking issues that may arise on their end. Networking problems that crop up on a customer's side of an ExpressRoute are another matter entirely.

Microsoft and Cisco announced a new collaboration that blends the former's cloud know-how with the latter's expertise in networking equipment and practices to assist joint customers that encounter ExpressRoute connectivity hiccups with their on-premises systems.

"To help address on-premises issues, which often require deep technical networking expertise, we continue to partner closely with Cisco to provide a better customer networking experience. Working together, we can solve the most challenging networking issues encountered by enterprise customers using Azure ExpressRoute," wrote Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking at Microsoft, in a Jan. 29 announcement.

The partnership involves extending Cisco's slate of Solution Support offering to include Azure ExpressRoute. "Customers will receive centralized support from our solution experts who own issue management and resolution of networking issues to ExpressRoute networking with Cisco Solution Support," stated Joseph Pinto, senior vice president of Technical Services at Cisco, in a separate announcement. "This enables our customers to quickly resolve issues and get their on premises environments connected to the Microsoft Cloud Platform."

Reflecting the heated competition that has arisen in the enterprise cloud space, other leading cloud providers have equivalent services of their own.

In November 2017, Google officially launched a Dedicated Interconnect option, allowing large enterprise customers in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia to access its cloud using a fast, private link. Pricing starts at $1,700 per month for a 10 Gbps link.

Amazon Web Service was early to the party with the 2011 launch of AWS Direct Connect. In November, AWS added a new Direct Connect Gateway that allows users to connect to virtual private clouds that span multiple AWS regions without creating multiple Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) sessions, a capability the company claims helps reduce the load on a customer's on-premises networking equipment administrative overhead.

In 2014, IBM debuted its take on dedicated cloud connections called Direct Link. On Jan. 10, BT (formerly British Telecom) launched BT Cloud Connect Direct, a service backed by Direct Link that allows the company's customers to privately access IBM Cloud's cloud data centers in the U.K. using BT's network. The telecom expects to expand the service to cover IBM's other data centers in the U.S., mainland Europe Australia and Asia in the coming months.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...