ExpressRoute: An overview

Cloud computing

We recently announced general availability of ExpressRoute on May 12th, 2014 at TechEd North America. I wanted to provide a brief overview of the service and provide you with pointers to relevant documentation and presentations.

ExpressRoute is a Microsoft Azure service that enables customers to access Azure services from their premises without having to traverse the internet. We partner with several connectivity providers to offer end-to-end connectivity between a customer’s premises and the Azure DCs. You can learn more about the service by viewing our presentation at TechEd North America (Extending Your Premises to Microsoft Azure with Virtual Networks and ExpressRoute). With ExpressRoute, you can connect to the Azure services such as Azure storage, SQL DB and so on in addition to virtual machines and cloud services deployed in virtual networks.

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We support two flavors of ExpressRoute based on the type of the connectivity provider.

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ExpressRoute and Exchange Providers

We partner with cloud exchange service providers such as Equinix and TeleCity group and also with point-to-point connectivity service providers such as Level 3 to offer connectivity between Azure and the customer’s premises. We offer circuit bandwidths from 200 Mbps to 10 Gbps (200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, 1 Gbps and 10 Gbps). Customers can be co-located with Equinix or TeleCity in the locations we offer services in and have their equipment connected with the cloud exchange / Cloud IX infrastructure in the facility or work with Level 3 to have an Ethernet circuit setup between their premises and Azure. We configure a pair of cross-connections between Azure infrastructure and the connectivity provider’s infrastructure in active-active configuration to ensure that the connection is highly available and is resilient to failures. Customers not present in Equinix or TeleCity can also work with their local metro Ethernet service provider to have a leased line to connect to the closest exchange provider facility to connect to Azure. Customers get to setup BGP sessions between their routers and the Microsoft routers to exchange routes and have traffic flow between their network and Azure. You can follow the step by step guidance to configure ExpressRoute circuits using PowerShell.

You can learn more about ExpressRoute offerings with Equinix and an example use case by viewing our presentation at TechEd North America (ExpressRoute: Connecting Private and Public Clouds through Exchange Providers).

We have launched services in Silicon Valley, Washington DC and London today and plan to expand to many more locations globally soon.

 

ExpressRoute and Network Service providers

We partner with Telcos such as AT&T, Verizon, British Telecom, Level 3 IPVPN and SingTel to offer connectivity between Azure and the customer’s premises. We offer circuit bandwidths from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps. Customers who use VPN services from any of the above-mentioned Network Service Providers (NSPs) can extend their networks into Azure without having to deploy any new hardware or making major configuration changes to their existing networks. We will work with the NSPs to setup routing. We have setup redundant connectivity with the NSPs in each location to ensure that your connection is resilient to failures. You can follow the step by step guidance to configure ExpressRoute circuits using PowerShell.

You can learn more about ExpressRoute offerings with AT&T and a experiences of a customer by viewing our presentation at TechEd North America (ExpressRoute: Connecting Private and Public Clouds through WAN Providers).

We have launched services in Silicon Valley, Washington DC and London today and plan to expand to many more locations globally soon.

 

FAQs

We have documented the most frequently asked questions about the service. Please do send us feedback and questions. We would be happy to add them to the list.

 

How much does the service cost?

You can visit the pricing page to get up to date information on ExpressRoute pricing.

 

Some useful case studies

We worked with a few customers during the ExpressRoute preview. You can find case studies on their experience and assessment below.

Microsoft as an organization is big on self-hosting services while in preview and using the learnings to improve the quality of the service before we launch them. We worked with Microsoft IT early in our preview phase and had them move services and workloads into Azure using ExpressRoute. You can learn more about their experience and findings in a case study we published with them.

Storage as a service is gaining a lot of momentum. We worked with Zadara Storage, a storage as a service provider to offer their services to Azure customers. They use ExpressRoute to enable their service. You can learn more about them and their offerings by reviewing this case study.

One of the customers to first try out our services and quantify the benefits in terms of cost savings was Accelera. You can learn more about their experience and findings in this case study.

 

Coming soon…

  • Virtual Network and ExpressRoute – a comparison
  • How to connect to Azure storage using ExpressRoute
  • Forced Tunneling with ExpressRoute
  • Setting up routers for ExpressRoute
  • Migrating virtual networks from Site-to-site VPN to ExpressRoute with minimal downtime

 

Links to useful content

General info on service: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/expressroute/

Case studies

TechEd sessions on Networking and ExpressRoute