Microsoft is extending a partnership with data centre firm Equinix that delivers a private connection between corporate IT and the Azure cloud platform to serve 16 markets globally, including Equinix's London data centre.
The Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute service creates dedicated connections between Microsoft's Azure data centres and those of its partner Equinix. This enables customers of Equinix to benefit from a faster, more reliable and more secure connection to Microsoft's Azure services than would be possible for data traversing the broader internet, according to Microsoft.
ExpressRoute is currently available to select customers as a public preview at Equinix IBX data centres in Silicon Valley and Washington DC, with general availability expected later this spring. Microsoft said the service will then be rolled out in multiple metropolitan areas across Europe, Asia-Pacific and South America throughout 2014.
However, Microsoft also said that customers interested in previewing the solution can now connect to ExpressRoute via the Equinix London data centre (LD5).
Steven Martin, Microsoft's general manager for Windows Azure, said that many enterprise customers are looking for a seamless bridge between public cloud providers and their physical data centres when building a hybrid cloud strategy.
By building private connections between Microsoft's Azure data centres and those of Equinix, customers that have private cloud infrastructure co-located in Equinix data centres will benefit from a more reliable connection with lower latency. Equinix can also provide a link between Azure and a customer's on-premise infrastructure.
"Connecting to Azure through Equinix allows enterprises to bridge their cloud and data centre strategies, benefiting from full integration between cloud services and internal applications," Martin wrote on Microsoft's Windows Azure blog.
Equinix is not the only IT infrastructure firm offering such a service in partnership with Microsoft. Earlier this month, BT announced a similar ExpressRoute offering for customers accessing Microsoft services in its Dublin and Amsterdam data centres.
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