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Equinix Cloud Exchange Debuts Direct Access To Office 365 Through Microsoft ExpressRoute

Enterprises for the first time can access Microsoft's popular office productivity suite on a private connection.

Data center giant Equinix on Tuesday became the first colocation provider to offer customers a dedicated, private connection to Office 365 through Microsoft's ExpressRoute service.

For the first time, enterprises using the Equinix Cloud Exchange can access direct lines to Microsoft's office productivity suite that bypass the open Internet, Sean Iraca, senior director of cloud innovation at Equinix, told CRN.

The ultra-fast and highly secure connections offer those enterprises new options for implementing hybrid clouds and linking diverse cloud services, Iraca said.

[Related: Equinix Acquires Nimbo To Help Enterprises Better Take Advantage Of Cloud]

"That in itself is going to allow enterprises to adopt more services and get the level of predictability and the end-user experience they require," Iraca said.

The new interconnectivity option allows Microsoft cloud customers, through a common port on Equinix Cloud Exchange, to access all their cloud services, from storage, compute and PaaS enviornments on Azure to Office 365 software like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive and Exchange email.

It will enable those clients to architect their IT environments a little differently, Iraca said.

"Traditionally they had to run over the public Internet, dealing with spikes and latency. The predictability of network performance was always a little challenging," Iraca said.

The Office 365 functionality rolls out in 16 data centers around the world, and availability will expand as Equinix introduces Cloud Exchange to new markets.

Direct connectivity with Office 365 should spur growth in Equinix's emerging channel, Iraca said.

Datapipe, a global managed services provider based in Jersey City, N.J., was an early channel partner of the Cloud Exchange and added an Azure partnership earlier this year.


Richard Dolan, Datapipe's senior vice president of marketing, said the new ExpressRoute capabilities present a strong selling point as the MSP prepares to launch an Office 365 practice.

Datapipe hosts its own infrastructure, sometimes in Equinix facilities, and has a mature practice managing traditional hosted Exchange and Microsoft messaging services, Dolan said.

About half of Datapipe's customers opt for ExpressRoute when building infrastructure solutions on Azure, Dolan said. He anticipates a similar percentage who would want to leverage the direct connection to their SaaS tools.

"Connecting through ExpressRoute gives you a private connection at really high speed. It would perform nicely," Dolan said of the Office 365 package.

Any customers who care about security and performance, and would rather not send their data across the public Internet, will likely be interested in exploring that option, Dolan said.

"We'll have to continue to expand our channel and partner groups to support this," Iraca said. "It's also going to drive a lot of expansion within the partnership tiers at Equinix to enable those hybrid environments."

PUBLISHED SEPT. 29, 2015

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