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Microsoft Expands Azure ExpressRoute Partnerships

Microsoft's ExpressRoute partnerships have expanded into seven cities, the company announced this week.

ExpressRoute is a service offered by Microsoft's partners that provides a dedicated connection between a private network and Microsoft Azure datacenters. The ExpressRoute connection bypasses the public Internet, enabling high bandwidth at port speeds ranging from 200Mbps to 10Gbps. Microsoft this week announced a U.S. city expansion for ExpressRoute in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York and Seattle, along with Asian market expansion in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Microsoft's ExpressRoute pricing page more generally describes the service as being available in all parts of the United States, Northern and Western Europe, and Eastern and Southeastern Asia Pacific. While that sounds simple enough, ExpressRoute users can typically connect to another location within the same region. For instance, U.S. ExpressRoute users can send data within the United States, but they can't send data to Europe. The Asia Pacific location is even more limited as users "are limited to the Azure region from where you connect to ExpressRoute."

Microsoft also announced two new ExpressRoute partners this week. Orange Business Services will offer WAN-to-cloud solutions in Europe via its Orange Business VPN Galerie service. Network solutions provider Internet Initiative Japan Inc. will serve as an exchange service provider for ExpressRoute via its GIO Component Service in Japan. It's not exactly clear when those companies will start offering the ExpressRoute service.

Microsoft's announcement also noted that British Telecom has now launched ExpressRoute connection service in Europe. BT had announced those plans back in April. Verizon kicked off ExpressRoute service in Denver, Northern Virginia and Santa Clara, Calif., but it has future plans to launch in London, too. AT&T currently offers ExpressRoute in Washington, D.C. and the Silicon Valley area. Level 3 offers ExpressRoute in Washington, D.C. and the Silicon Valley area and has plans to launch the service in London. SingTel has plans to launch ExpressRoute in Singapore. TeleCity Group is planning to offer ExpressRoute service in London.

Equinix, which kicked off its ExpressRoute service in April, offers the service broadly. It's available in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Microsoft recommends that organizations choose a location closest to "the Azure region where you plan to host most of your services in" when contracting to use the ExpressRoute service.

Microsoft makes a distinction between "exchange service providers" and "network service providers" when getting an ExpressRoute connection. Equinix and TeleCity Group are examples of exchange service providers. AT&T, BT, Level 3, SingTel and Verizon are examples of network service providers.

There are network and bandwidth-capacity differences between the two types of providers offering ExpressRoute service. Exchange service providers can offer higher circuit bandwidth (up to 10 Gbps) than network service providers (up to 1 Gbps), according to Microsoft's description.

About the Author

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

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