Secure connectivity to the cloud has never been more in demand. Companies want to tap into pay-per-use and scalable cloud-based solution providers, but have been reluctant to use these platforms for business-critical applications. They fear performance and security issues related to public Internet access are not acceptable for critical workloads. To overcome these concerns, many companies are looking for more secure and predictable connections into leading cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure and Office365.
For many businesses, Microsoft’s operating systems and productivity suites are familiar, so it makes sense that Microsoft also would become a cloud leader, pivoting their solutions to a cloud-based delivery model. Initially, the Microsoft cloud was designed as a Platform as a Service environment but has since evolved into a full continuum of services that includes Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Microsoft Azure offers a multi-tenant public cloud computing environment built on the software giant’s Hyper-V virtualization environment. Users can build virtual machines as well as leverage multi-tenant storage, network and content delivery network (CDN) elements to create a custom application environment in one or more of Microsoft’s cloud data centers. Need a turnkey database or analytics solution? Microsoft has that too. And if you are looking to deliver your apps to mobile users, that can be done in minutes for iOS, Android and Windows devices. Azure also integrates with leading SaaS solutions such as Salesforce and its own Dynamics CRM.
The Azure Marketplace provides access to thousands of certified, open-source and community software applications, as well as developer services – all pre-configured to run on Azure infrastructure.
You can utilize the Azure Portal to manage all of these resources or take advantage of Azure’s ever-growing Application Programming Interface (API) library to customize your resource management and control experience.
As Microsoft has expanded its cloud-based offering, the company recognized that many of its customers were looking for non-Internet based connectivity to its solutions. In 2014, Microsoft released ExpressRoute. ExpressRoute delivers the benefits of public cloud over a private network connection. It is a great option for organizations that require predictable levels of performance and maximum security. Instead of using the Internet-facing connectivity of Azure, ExpressRoute delivers redundant, private and dedicated network handoffs so that customers can utilize their existing enterprise networks when accessing Microsoft cloud services.
Now, with EarthLink’s recently announced Cloud Express™ service, EarthLink MPLS customers can easily connect to Microsoft ExpressRoute using their existing private network. Through software, Cloud Express™ creates scalable, redundant virtual circuits that connect to Microsoft’s Express Route service in East and West Coast locations.
And if that wasn’t compelling enough, Microsoft just announced it has completed its integration between Office 365 and ExpressRoute with a few of its key network providers, so that these same virtual private connections to Azure can be used to access the popular cloud-based portfolio of productivity tools, including Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Office Online. They have also reduced their minimum commitment to 50Mbps, making it a much more attractive connectivity solution for the small to medium enterprise.
With no capital investment and no physical circuits or equipment to order, Cloud Express™ is a simple and secure way to provide immediate access to most Microsoft cloud services for all of your users. Because the connections are virtual, they can scale up and down as your needs change. And because there are no single points of failure, you can feel confident about running business-critical workloads in the cloud. Want to add other cloud providers? You can do that too as the Cloud Express™ ecosystem of available cloud service providers also includes Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and IBM SoftLayer – with more on the way.
So as you look for ways to improve productivity, accelerate innovation and reduce costs, look to the cloud leaders like Microsoft. And when you need secure, scalable and reliable connectivity to these services, EarthLink Cloud Express™ is at the ready.
By overcoming network obstacles and adopting more innovative technologies that help consistently deliver a more integrated and connected customer experience.