Microsoft wants to give businesses a personal cloud highway with Azure ExpressRoute

Microsoft teamed with major providers to offer customers a dedicated link between their local storage and data stored in Azure. Tony Bradley takes a look at Azure ExpressRoute.

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute

One of the big announcements at Microsoft TechEd 2014 this week was Azure ExpressRoute. Microsoft is working with major internet providers like AT&T, Level3, and BT to create private, dedicated connections between a customer's local data storage and the data stored in the cloud in Azure. Azure ExpressRoute gives customers more flexibility and more peace of mind for managing and storing data.

One of the major hurdles for many organizations when it comes to storing data in the cloud is getting it there in the first place. A pure cloud service requires that all data be somehow transferred or uploaded to the cloud before it can be made available and normal operations can resume. Depending on how much data the business has, getting it into the cloud can be a slow, tedious process.

Another obstacle is security. Many organizations are reluctant to move data to the cloud because of concerns about data being intercepted or compromised as it traverses the public internet to get from the local datacenter to the cloud and back.

Azure ExpressRoute addresses both of those concerns. Providing a bridge between the local datacenter and Azure means that businesses can take advantage of hybrid storage that includes both. The fact that the bridge is a private, dedicated connection means that the customers don't have to worry about the security of their data en route.

In addition, having a dedicated Azure ExpressRoute pipeline means customers get better reliability and faster transfer speeds with lower latency. It's the difference between driving to work on surface streets during rush hour with a stoplight every block and having your own personal highway that goes directly from Point A to Point B.

Customers can also use Azure ExpressRoute to extend the datacenter and for backup and disaster recovery. The fast speeds and low latency enable businesses to use Azure as a natural extension of the datacenter, as it accommodates sudden spikes in demand and scales back down when the demand recedes.

Backing up terabytes of data over the public internet is generally impractical. The dedicated Azure ExpressRoute connection, however, means that customers can back up local servers to Azure and easily restore data from the cloud when a catastrophe occurs.

I recently wrote about how Microsoft needs to embracethe culture of "And" in its marketing efforts. Windows 8 is a powerful desktop OS AND a great mobile OS. The Surface Pro is an awesome tablet AND a full-powered Windows PC. It seems like it has gone that direction when it comes to data storage. Don't choose local or cloud -- choose local AND cloud.

What are your thoughts about Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

By Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley is a principal analyst with Bradley Strategy Group. He is a respected authority on technology, and information security. He writes regularly for Forbes, and PCWorld, and contributes to a wide variety of online and print media outlets. He...