Equinix and Microsoft have partnered to offer performance- and privacy-sensitive enterprises the option to consume Microsoft’s cloud productivity software suite Office 365 over private network links out of Equinix data centers around the world.
Microsoft is the first in what will likely be a string of major Software-as-a-Service companies whose services will be accessible via private links by Equinix colocation customers. Equinix’s then VP of cloud innovation Chris Sharp told Data Center Knowledge in July the company was in talks with all of the big SaaS companies, including the top cloud CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, players.
Enabling enterprises to connect their servers in Equinix data centers directly to the public cloud infrastructure services, such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and IBM SoftLayer, without relying on the public internet, has been one of the fastest-growing business segments for the data center provider. Doing the same for SaaS is the next strategic step for Equinix as it grows its role in the enterprise cloud market.
Equinix first announced it would provide ExpressRoute Office 365 services in May. It is now available at 16 of its data centers in the US, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
ExpressRoute for Office 365 will not bypass the public internet entirely, but it will enable most 365 network traffic to avoid it, Bill Long, VP of interconnection services at Equinix, wrote in a blog post.
ExpressRoute for Office 365 has been widely requested by Equinix customers, Sean Iraca, senior director of cloud innovation at Equinix, said in an interview.
The size of overall opportunity for Equinix in SaaS is “hard to quantify, but it’s massive,” he said. “SaaS is in demand across the board.”
A lot of the demand for private connectivity to SaaS is driven by hybrid deployments, where a customer wants to keep part of their infrastructure under their own control, colocated at an Equinix data center, while taking advantage of the SaaS application front end for global user access. SharePoint, Exchange, or Active Directory are the primary examples of Microsoft apps that can be set up this way, Iraca said.
Equinix also announced another partnership with Microsoft around providing ExpressRoute for Azure for government agencies. The launch of Azure Government over ExpressRoute is in its early phases, Long said, with initial availability expected through Equinix data centers in Ashburn, Virginia, and Chicago.
ExpressRoute for Microsoft Office 365 is now available at Equinix data centers in: