Cisco and Microsoft announce new network practice

Cisco announced it is extending its partnership with Microsoft by creating a new network practice that brings Cisco Solution Support to Azure ExpressRoute.

The purpose of the partnership is to help customers address technical issues coupled to hybrid architectures. Made generally available in 2014, Azure ExpressRoute is intended to make hybrid environments more secure with a private connection between Azure data centers and on-premises cloud infrastructure.

As part of the collaboration, customers will receive centralized support from Cisco solution experts, who own issue management and resolution of networking issues to ExpressRoute networking with Cisco Solution Support. According to Cisco, this will help customers resolve technical difficulties quickly as they connect their on-premises networks to the Microsoft Cloud Platform.

“As we continue to partner closely with Cisco to provide a better customer networking experience. Working together, we can solve the most challenging networking issues encountered by enterprise customers using Azure ExpressRoute,” wrote Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president at Microsoft, in a company blog post

Microsoft added that Network Performance Monitor (NPM) for ExpressRoute will be generally available in six regions in mid-February. The tool provides greater visibility into ExpressRoute network traffic, helping to detect network issues, such as routing errors.

“Customers will receive centralized support from our solution experts who own issue management and resolution of networking issues to ExpressRoute networking with Cisco Solution Support,” wrote Joe Pinto, senior vice president of Technical Services at Cisco, in a separate company blog post.

In an effort to simplify management and configuration of ExpressRoute, Microsoft said it has merged public and Microsoft peerings. Azure PaaS services such as Azure Storage and Azure SQL, in addition to Microsoft SaaS services like Dynamics 365 and Office 365, are available on Microsoft peering. Users are still able to access Azure Virtual Networking on private peering.

Microsoft isn’t the only enterprise that has made headway in providing seamless connectivity. IBM, for instance, provides its Cloud Direct Link network service, which helps customers directly connect from their on-premises data centers into IBM Cloud. Google also introduced Dedicated Interconnect last year to establish private network connections directly to Google Cloud Platform.

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