As more businesses connect to the public cloud for compute needs, they may experience performance bottlenecks, latency delays, security vulnerabilities and even reliability problems that might be mistaken for cloud issues. These connectivity problems can be mitigated with a direct connection to the cloud providers. Microsoft now offers Azure ExpressRoute on its platform to connect customer data centers to Azure services.
Essentially, Azure ExpressRoute is a selection of three private network connectivity options between an organization's data center and the desired Azure data center rather than the common public network connections.
With a public Internet connection, a company can experience problems out of its control. For example, bandwidth of the public Internet connection might be limited or might vary with the traffic load of other businesses. This would create unpredictable network bottlenecks and introduce latencies that might affect access to the public cloud provider's services or workloads running in the public cloud. Traffic passed over the public network can also be more vulnerable to theft or attack. For example, a business application in Azure can authenticate corporate users against Active Directory without ever passing traffic through the public Internet.
Azure ExpressRoute allows a business to work with a connectivity provider -- such as AT&T NetBond, British Telecom, Equinix and others -- to sidestep the public Internet to connect to Azure. A private connection to Azure can provide greater effective bandwidth and lower latencies by eliminating the need to share traffic with other businesses. The private connection can also be more predictable, reliable and secure than common public connections.
Azure ExpressRoute is recommended for businesses that need to move high volumes of data very quickly. Some examples include data migration, replication, backup and disaster recovery tasks. ExpressRoute can be desirable for resource hungry applications, such as big data analytics or other high performance computing jobs. The dedicated bandwidth and low latencies can make fast workload migrations -- moving new virtual machines between Azure and the local data center or back -- more feasible. Fast connectivity might also benefit performance for hybrid workloads that span between the local data center and public cloud, such as workloads that use cloud bursting to increase compute capacity on-demand.
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