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Azure Customers Can Use ExpressRoute Free Through June

Microsoft's new ExpressRoute service could emerge as a key piece of its hybrid cloud story for customers wary of using the public Internet to link their private datacenters to Azure. ExpressRoute, introduced at last May's TechEd conference in Houston, effectively provides dedicated links that are more reliable, faster and secure. To encourage customers and partners to try it out, Microsoft is offering the service free of charge through the end of June.

The offer covers Microsoft's Express Route 10 Mbps Network Service Provider (NSP) for new and existing customers in all Azure regions where ExpressRoute is currently offered. Several of Microsoft's telecommunications partners that offer ExpressRoute are also joining in the promotion including British Telecom, Colt, and Level 3. Also, AT&T is offering six month trials of its new NetBond service and Verizon is providing six months use of its Secure Cloud Interconnect offering for first-time users of its basic data plan with customers who sign two-year agreements for up to 1TB per month.

"ExpressRoute gives you a fast and reliable connection to Azure, making it suitable for scenarios such as data migration, replication for business continuity, disaster recovery, and other high-availability strategies," wrote Sameer Sankaran, a senior business planner within Microsoft's Azure group. "It also allows you to enable hybrid scenarios by letting you seamlessly extend your existing datacenter to Azure."

The service is especially complementary for services like Azure Site Recovery, which provides disaster recovery services using Azure targets and Hyper-V replication and for applications requiring private or more reliable links than using an Internet connection.

ExpressRoute is designed to connect on-premises resources such as physical and virtual server farms, storage, media services and Web sites, among other services. The service requires you to order circuits via one of the connectivity partners. Customers can choose either a direct layer 3 connection via an exchange provider or a standard layer 3 link from an NSP. Customers can enable one or both types through their Azure subscriptions but must configure both to connect to all supported services.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/11/2015 at 1:28 PM


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