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Verizon and BT To Add Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute Service

Microsoft Azure (formerly known as "Windows Azure") will be getting additional support this summer from carrier partners Verizon and BT.

Both of those telecom service providers plan to add to their specialized connection service offerings for business customers by offering the Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute service. Adding the ExpressRoute service will allow their customers to tap into various Microsoft Azure services without connecting to the public Internet.

Microsoft rolled out its ExpressRoute program as a "preview" back in February, describing it as a way to establish a dedicated connection between a private network and Microsoft's datacenters. The connection bypasses using the public Internet, providing a way to ensure quality of service for network connections, which may be a requirement for some organizations.

Verizon and BT both plan to offer ExpressRoute connections sometime this summer. The two carriers will be joining other existing Microsoft ExpressRoute partners, such as AT&T, Equinix and Level3.

Verizon has launched its Secure Cloud Interconnect service, which enables organizations to connect to multiple cloud services, in Denver, Northern Virginia and Santa Clara, Calif. The service will be expanded into London and Amsterdam in May, according to a Verizon announcement. The Secure Cloud Interconnect service includes features such as "dynamic bandwidth allocation with fully redundant connections, application performance throughput and quality of service" via a private connection (called "private IP" by Verizon). The Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connection will be added to this Secure Cloud Interconnect service sometime this summer for Verizon's U.S. customers.

BT plans to offer Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute connections to its IP Connect VPN service customers in Europe sometime this summer. BT's IP Connect VPN service also provides private Internet connections and is available in "198 countries and territories," according to a BT announcement. The service delivers "lower latency, more predictable performance and enhanced security for Azure workloads," BT claims.

The Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute service is still at the preview stage, according to Microsoft's pricing page. The service is available either from a network service provider or from an Exchange provider, but the costs can differ, depending on the provider.

Exchange-provider ExpressRoute preview prices range from $300 per month for a 1-gigabit per second (Gbps) port speed to $5,000 per month for a 10-Gbps port speed. However, there are additional charges for outbound data transfers exceeding certain limits. Users connecting from an ExpressRoute location in the United States can only connect to locations within that country, according to Microsoft's pricing page FAQ.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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