Microsoft enlists fat-piper Equinix to pump Office 365

It'll stay up diddly up up, promises Redmond

Microsoft has turned to Equinix to deliver stable and reliable Office 365 services for enterprise customers.

Equinix will deliver private, managed connections to Office 365 through its own servers in the third quarter of this year. Connections will come through something called the Azure ExpressRoute through Equinix Cloud Exchange.

Firms can use ExpressRoute to manage and allocate bandwidth and to prioritize traffic for Office 365 or they can use their existing MPLS or WANs infrastructure.

Microsoft will continue to host Office 365 on its own servers, running on hosted Exchange Server. Under the new structure, Azure ExpressRoute will provide a private connection between the customer and Microsoft’s cloud for high performance and privacy.

Equinix said customers can “achieve predictable network performance, the ability to manage network availability and the reliably that comes with dedicated connectivity.”

Equinix is a global data centre firm and interconnect specialist that claims to offer more than 99.9999 per cent uptime and who operates more than 100 data centres in 33 major locations.

Customers include more than 500 cloud and 600 IT service providers.

Microsoft has been under pressure to improve its Office 365 uptime performance. Although it’s not the only aspiring cloud provider to have suffered outages, it does unfortunately find itself open to gags along "Office 363-and-a-half" lines.

The last and most significant crash stuck in June last year, when a nine-hour Exchange outage struck North America and Mexico, leaving Office 365 customers crippled and unable to send or receive emails.

As galling as the outage has been the lack of information and support from Microsoft.

The year before a supposedly routine policy update felled Microsoft’s DNS servers killing connectivity to Office 365 with other Redmond offerings.

The agreement with Equinix is unlikely to alter the situation. Should Office 365 itself go down you are still stuffed, but the new scheme can let firms build in redundancy and back up plans to protect against other types of disaster.

Also, for day-to-day operations, it gives customers more choice on the size of pipes ultimately going into Microsoft’s Office 365 and control over traffic flow.

That’s important to reduce latency and make performance seem more like something on the user’s desktop as more come to rely on the remote Office 365 service. Microsoft has been chucking low-priced Office 365 into customer deals to help drive uptake of the service. ®

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