BT’s secure link to Microsoft Azure goes live in Europe

BT’s new, secure, high-performance connectivity to Azure public cloud has gone live in Europe three months after BT teamed up with Microsoft

BT’s new, secure, high-performance connectivity to Azure public cloud has gone live in Europe three months after the UK telecoms giant teamed up with Microsoft to provide ExpressRoute connection to its Azure service, bypassing the public internet.  

The service now connects to Microsoft Azure’s Dublin and Amsterdam datacentres. BT will later follow this up with connections to locations in Asia, the US and further round the world.

BT says the issues of security and reliability are still holding many CIOs back from fully embracing the trend. It collaborated with Microsoft so that its enterprise customers can treat the cloud as a seamless, flexible extension to their existing corporate network and datacentres, without any degradation of performance or security.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has said increased cloud adoption in Europe will help businesses to fuel economic recovery and growth, and that cloud computing could contribute as much as €763bn to major EU economies by 2016. But security continues to be the biggest obstacle preventing users from adopting cloud technologies, with worries about data remaining the top concern.

Research firm IDC said businesses are demanding private, secure connections to the cloud to ensure optimal performance and scalability.

Users of Azure ExpressRoute can create private connections between Azure datacentres and infrastructure that is on their premises or in a colocation environment. Microsoft has collaborated with Verizon, Telecity Group, Equinix, AT&T and Level 3 as well as BT to develop private, secure links between datacentres and its public cloud service. 

“It gives quicker, more predictable performance and enhanced security,” said Neil Sutton, vice-president, global portfolio at BT Global Services. “By avoiding the public internet, risk is reduced and performance enhanced.”

The secure link is based on BT’s IP Connect VPN service and integrates the infrastructure directly with an enterprise’s wide area network (WAN). 

“Customers will benefit from a faster, safer and more resilient solution, allowing them to focus on their core operations with peace of mind,” said BT’s global chief executive, Luis Alvarez.

Microsoft said this means a business can move to the cloud with infrastructure-based reassurances of more predictable performance.

Earlier this week at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft said more than 57% of Fortune 500 companies are using Azure cloud services.

To allay users’ public cloud fears about privacy and security, cloud providers such as Microsoft and AWS are establishing secure, fast-lane, private network connections. Similar to Azure ExpressRoute is AWS Direct Connect, a network service that enables AWS customers to establish a dedicated network connection between the cloud provider’s facilities and their own datacentre or a colocation environment.

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