Microsoft and Equinix Add Azure ExpressRoute Regions

The new Azure ExpressRoute regions include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Seattle, all of which are serviced by data center operator Equinix.

Microsoft cloud data center

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute now covers more markets, expanding from just three locations to 10 just two months after the offering was launched on May 12 during the company's TechEd conference in Houston.

Azure ExpressRoute enables businesses to link their on-premise IT infrastructures to Microsoft's massive cloud data centers. Since they bypass the public Internet, the private links enhance both security and performance. The service is available via Exchange Providers and Network Service Providers that provide Layer 3 (network layer) connectivity to Azure.

Today, the service stretches well beyond the launch markets, Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and London, announced the company.

The new Azure ExpressRoute regions include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Seattle, all of which are serviced by data center operator Equinix. Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., are currently being serviced by Equinix, AT&T, Level 3 and Verizon.

Equinix also flipped the switch on ExpressRoute in Hong Kong and Singapore. SingTel (Singapore Telecommunications Limited) is planning to bring the solution to its namesake city soon, said Microsoft.

In Europe, Microsoft formed "new strategic relationships with Orange Business Services," said Ganesh Srinivasan, a senior program manager for Azure Networking. "With this partnership, our mutual customers in Europe will be able to connect to Azure ExpressRoute through Orange Business VPN Galerie service," he added. Orange Business VPN Galerie, explained Srinivasan, is a "WAN-to-cloud solution offering a private access to the Microsoft Azure platform without having to deploy a dedicated infrastructure."

London area businesses can now subscribe to ExpressRoute with British Telecom, in addition to Equinix. Soon, Level 3, Orange, TeleCity Group and Verizon will bring the capability to the English capital. TeleCity Group currently offers ExpressRoute in Amsterdam.

Microsoft also inked a deal with Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) allowing the companies' mutual customers in that country "to use ExpressRoute to reach Azure."

In total, all seven of the new ExpressRoute regions are served by Equinix. During an early-access program for select customers, Steven Martin, general manager for Microsoft Azure, said the companies worked closely to "integrate Azure cloud services with private secure connectivity via an Equinix switching fabric that provides virtual connections with near-real-time provisioning across fully redundant paths to and from Microsoft Azure."

Martin noted in a separate statement that Azure is in use by 57 percent of the Fortune 500 corporations and that Equinix has a "global data center footprint." Microsoft is working with Equinix "to help customers bridge their cloud and on-premises technology to build hybrid environments with enterprise-grade control and reliability," he said.

ExpressRoute is among several efforts by Microsoft to attract big business workloads to its growing cloud-computing ecosystem. In April, the company announced Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service (ISS) to help customers securely manage the deluge of data produced by the burgeoning Internet of things. Earlier this month, the company previewed a cloud-based disaster recovery offering called Azure Site Recovery.

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 network of...