Data center operator Equinix announced on May 3 that its Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute private connectivity service is now available in the Miami, Fla. and Paris, France metropolitan areas.
Azure ExpressRoute establishes a private, dedicated link between an enterprise's on-premises IT systems and Microsoft's cloud, enabling secure and reliable data transfers that bypass the public internet. For some Miami-area businesses, Azure ExpressRoute connectivity may open up new possibilities further south, said Bob Breynaert, global managing director of Strategic Alliances at Equinix.
"Miami is a highly-strategic market for customers who have operations and a business presence in Latin America," Breynaert said. The ExpressRoute node placed in Equinix's International Business Exchange (IBX) data center in region also provides area customers with access to "the primary network exchange between the U.S. and Latin America," or NOTA, the company's Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas.
In Europe, France represents a high-growth market for both Equinix and Microsoft, Breynaert said. He reported substantial interest from businesses seeking to use ExpressRoute to access Azure since the recent opening of service in the Azure France Central region.
Chances are that businesses in both Miami and France will use the service for "periodic data migration, replication for business continuity, disaster recovery and other high-availability strategies," which are some of the use cases observed among existing customers, according to Breynaert. Some may have loftier ambitions, including transferring massive datasets for high-performance computing workloads.
Azure Cloud Collaboration Center
Microsoft, meanwhile, is pulling back the curtain on the Azure Cloud Collaboration Center, a new workspace focused on helping the company's enterprise cloud customers resolve issues, enhance security and improve efficiency.
Located at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash. campus, the facility houses a mission-control-style video wall measuring 1,600 square feet that delivers a comprehensive view of Azure, according to Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft Azure in a May 2 announcement. In addition to providing customers with snapshots of how Azure is handling their data, the center relies on experts from across the organization to provide real-time troubleshooting when problems arise.
"With the complexity of hyperscale cloud computing, Microsoft is embracing the reality that their teams need to work collaboratively with enterprise customer teams to build and operate webscale projects," said Marty Puranik, CEO of cloud hosting specialist Atlantic.Net. "Microsoft is responding to the reality that customers need to be sitting on the same side of the table as Microsoft engineers to make things work."
Azure Cloud Collaboration Center is also a sign that the cloud-computing market is evolving and coming to realize "that real-time 24/7/365 applications in a connected world will require more collaboration between customers and cloud vendors and all stakeholders," Puranik said. "Historically, cloud vendors took a hands-off approach and wanted their customers to primarily interact with an API," a model pioneered by Amazon Web Services, he added.