Equinix, Inc. has announced that it will be among the first to offer private, managed connections to Microsoft Office 365 via Azure ExpressRoute through the Equinix Cloud Exchange™. Available in Q3 of this year, direct access to Office 365 from inside Equinix will be available in 15 markets worldwide.

"By offering direct access to Office 365 on Cloud Exchange, we are helping our enterprise customers get the most out of their cloud investments. Private access to Office 365 results in lower latency and higher performing connections, thus providing business grade performance and the end-user experiences that enterprises are demanding with their adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications," said Chris Sharp, vice president, cloud innovation, Equinix.

As many business applications migrate to a cloud-delivery model, enterprise customers are looking for cloud connectivity solutions that offer more consistent and reliable performance than the public Internet. Bandwidth and latency-sensitive productivity applications such as Office 365 specifically benefit from a direct access solution. By providing private, secure access to Office 365, Equinix ensures that enterprise customers will achieve predictable network performance, the ability to better manage network availability and the reliability that comes with dedicated connectivity. In addition, when connecting to Office 365 via Azure ExpressRoute at Equinix, businesses gain additional assurance of privacy with the ability to bypass the public Internet.

"Office 365 customers have been asking for direct connectivity to Office 365 since Azure ExpressRoute launched last year, and we're pleased that Equinix will be among the first to offer it through Cloud Exchange. With network performance as predictable as a customer's own on-premises environment, ExpressRoute for Office 365 is like having the full Office 365 productivity solution in your own datacenter. It is a great option for organizations that require premium, managed connectivity to their productivity services," said Mike Schutz, GM of Cloud Platform, Microsoft.

Equinix first launched its partnership with Microsoft in April 2014, and today offers direct connection to Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute in 15 markets globally via the Equinix Cloud Exchange. Direct access to Office 365 will be available in all 15 markets, including Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Osaka, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C.

According to a recent Forrester report, "Beware the Pitfalls Within Networking for Hybrid Cloud," end-user experience should be a company's top priority when considering cloud connectivity options for business productivity applications. With this announcement, Equinix and Microsoft are enabling the enterprise to use its existing MPLS or wide area network (WAN) infrastructure to get high speed, secure access to Office 365, thus ensuring a better end-user experience. In addition, if companies access Azure ExpressRoute through Equinix Cloud Exchange they can dynamically manage and allocate their bandwidth requirement, ensuring that specific applications get the priority they need to deliver the performance required – across a single port.

Azure ExpressRoute provides high-performance, private connections between enterprise IT environments and Microsoft Azure, a cloud service used by 57 percent of the Fortune 500. Azure ExpressRoute offers greater privacy than typical cloud connections and enables customers to build hybrid cloud environments with enterprise-grade control and reliability.