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TelecityGroup is now able to Office 365 users a private internet connection to the cloud-based business productivity suite.
The firm is among several partners to have been authorised by Microsoft to offer its Azure ExpressRoute service to Office 365 customers from launch, including AT&T and Equinix.
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The offering provides users with a private, managed internet connection to Office 365, which is reportedly more reliable and secure than using public internet connections to access it.
Users will be able to access services such as Sharepoint Online, Skype for Business, Outlook and all the other Microsoft cloud services that make up the Office 365 portfolio via a private connection.
TelecityGroup said it plans to incorporate this functionality into its software-defined Cloud-IX networking platform, which is designed to allow users to access multiple off-premise services through a single, stable internet connection.
Speaking to Computer Weekly, Adi Ayyagari, head of Cloud-IX at TelecityGroup, said using Office 365 over a private connection also protects users against running into latency and privacy problems.
“Most digital content in businesses tends to be sensitive. The combination of ExpressRoute and TelecityGroup’s Cloud-IX makes for a private, dedicated connection into the Office 365 cloud and offers better privacy for most network traffic flowing to Office 365,” he said.
“The real-time collaboration applications that are part of this package require stringent performance and latency. This offers dedicated bandwidth over a managed network infrastructure, rather than the best-effort traffic forwarding of the public internet.”
Ross Ortega, principal program manager for Azure Networking at Microsoft, said the technology tie-up with TelecityGroup should ensure a better experience for Office 365 users.
“Cloud-IX is helping to deliver the speed and reliability to Office 365 customers so they can have an excellent user experience with their productivity and collaboration applications,” he said.
“In addition, Office 365 customers benefit from predictable network performance and the ability to better manage network availability.”
TelecityGroup, which is in the process of being acquired by rival datacentre operator Equinix for £2.35bn, also supported the initial roll out of Azure ExpressRoute in April 2014.
Similarly, this provides users with dedicated internet connection to Azure’s public cloud resources. It has been pitched by Microsoft as a means of smoothing the way for enterprises that want to adopt a hybrid IT strategy. For instance, by providing users with a private connection between their on-premise datacentre resources and the public cloud, which means they can shift workloads and applications around as dictated by demand.
Ayyagari said the hybrid cloud trend is one its customer base is keen to adopt, as part of a wider push to digitise more of the services they push out to their own users.
The move is also indicative of another trend, he said, whereby overseas public cloud providers seem to be embarking on partnerships that will allow them to offer their services from European locations.
“Public cloud service providers are going ‘local’ with European datacentre regions and with secure and dedicated connectivity offerings,” said Ayyagari.
“The second trend is also witnessing major cloud service providers, such as Microsoft, extend the services available over the same secure connectivity offerings. In this case, Microsoft has extended the availability of Office 365, with a number of enhanced features, over ExpressRoute.”