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BT To Offer Secure, Dedicated Access To Microsoft Azure

BT offers Azure customers the ability to bypass the public Internet when connecting to the Microsoft service

On by Tom Jowitt 0

BT is offering customers a secure and reliable connection to the Microsoft Azure public cloud platform.

BT and Microsoft have inked a deal for what is being dubbed the Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute.

Azure ExpressRoute

Essentially, Azure ExpressRoute is a dedicated and more secure connection to a customer’s data and applications on Windows Azure. It allows customers to effectively bypass the public Internet when connecting to Azure, thanks to a private connection based on BT’s IP Connect VPN service, which is available in 198 countries around the world.

Windows Azure landscapeThis will allow enterprise customers for example to operate a seamless, hybrid IT environment that includes their corporate networks, data centres and the Azure cloud platform. Despite being a relative late comer to the cloud world, Microsoft last year claimed that Microsoft Azure is used by over 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies around the world.

BT believes that its connection will help customers benefit from “lower latency, more predictable performance and enhanced security for Azure workloads.”

“IT departments everywhere face the same challenge; Cloud offers them the benefits of flexibility and lower costs, but security and reliability of access to data and applications remain main barriers to adoption,” said Luis Alvarez, CEO, BT Global Services.

“We will help customers build on their hybrid cloud strategies by bringing together BT’s expertise and global network with the Azure platform,” said Alvarez. “They will benefit from a globally consistent, more secure and reliable solution, helping them innovate and compete in the global market.”

Working Together

BT and Microsoft have worked together in the past. Last year BT was awarded Office 365 Syndication Growth Partner of the Year, and the former British telecoms incumbent was also among the very first companies in the world to provide Lync as a private cloud service in 2012. The two companies have also worked together to test “white space” radio systems in Cambridge.

“Microsoft and BT have an established history of delivering cloud solutions that meet the evolving needs of business across many industries,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International. “Today’s announcement is yet another example of the two companies joining forces to help customers embrace cloud on their terms, by providing a more secure and reliable way to take advantage of the speed, flexibility and scale of hybrid solutions.”

European customers will have to wait for the service to go live in summer 2014 via direct network connectivity to Microsoft Azure data centres in Dublin and Amsterdam. BT said that Azure ExpressRoute will then be rolled out to Asia, followed by other global locations.

The new connection option comes at a busy time for Microsoft Azure. It has been recently rebranded from Windows Azure, and last month Microsoft officially flipped the switch on Oracle virtual machines after a preview period.

All this comes at a time when Microsoft Azure is locked in an “insane” price war with its chief rivals, namely Google and Amazon.

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Tom Jowitt
Author: Tom Jowitt
Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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