Colt serves up IP access across Microsoft Azure Peering Service

Colt serves up IP access across Microsoft Azure Peering Service

Colt Technology Services is now offering cloud-optimized, dedicated internet connectivity for enterprises by tapping into the Microsoft Azure Peering Service. Colt was one of the first network service providers picked to take part in Microsoft Azure Peering Service last year. Microsoft Azure Peering Service is now generally available.Colt, which has been a long-standing partner of Microsoft, is providing improved performance via end-to-end routing optimization with its Cloud Prioritization Service for IP Access. Cloud Prioritization is available in Europe immediately and will soon be available in Asia.

By partnering with Colt, Microsoft is able to provide a better customer experience for its SaaS applications, which include Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365. Due to work from home policies related to the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft has seen a large spike in the use of its Teams platform. Last month, Microsoft reported a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day on Microsoft Teams.

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Enterprises have been moving their workloads and applications into the cloud for some time, but that has accelerated as millions of employees work from home during the COVID-19 crisis. Microsoft 365, which was formerly called Office 365, is one of the most popular SaaS applications.

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“Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams are used on a daily basis by business users as their primary method of communication and collaboration,” said Colt’s Peter Coppens, vice president of product portfolio, in a statement. “We know the power these tools bring to businesses, and the enhanced integration between Colt and Microsoft further strengthens their customer experience in a meaningful way.

“In order to truly benefit from the cloud and all it has to offer, having the right connectivity is a critical and often overlooked element. It’s for this reason we are constantly focusing on further improving cloud connectivity to make it smarter, simpler and more secure to really enable organizations to thrive.”

Previously, Microsoft’s enterprise customers connected to the cloud via the public internet or by dedicated connectivity provided by an Azure ExpressRoute partner such as Colt.

The Azure Peering Service serves up a third connectivity option by enabling enterprises to tap into a direct connection between Colt’s IP Access network and the public Microsoft Network without needing other providers between them. By making direct connections, Microsoft 365 users will have a better quality of experience due to the low latency connections and optimized routing.

By partnering with Colt, Teams and Office 365 workflows are optimized end-to-end, including the last mile to the user, from all of the customer sites that are connected via Colt IP Access to Azure. Since they lack last mile access to the end users, cloud providers have been teaming up with telco and cable service providers.

Workloads can also be prioritized between the customers’ branch locations and Azure, which improves connectivity performance while also providing service level agreements (SLAs) for latency even if there’s congestion over the last mile. Colt also guarantees that customers’ data won’t be re-routed through any third party IP network other than Colt’s and Microsoft’s, which improves security.

Colt’s Cloud Prioritization and IP Access offering rides on top of the Colt IQ Network, which reaches 29,000 on net buildings and more than 900 data centers, serving more than 25,000 customers globally.

Colt is a Gold Partner of Microsoft and has been an Azure Express Route partner since 2014. Colt joined the Azure Networking Service Provider (MSP) Program last year. Azure Networking MSPs are a specialized set of managed service providers that address the enterprise cloud networking needs and challenges across all aspects of cloud and hybrid networking.

“Colt has been a Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute partner providing on-demand and dedicated connectivity to Azure,” said Jeff Cohen, general manager for Microsoft Azure, in a statement. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Colt as we announce the general availability of Azure Peering Service.”

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