Azure Partner Community: Azure ExpressRoute revisited

Welcome to part 2 of this month’s Azure Partner Community blog series.



by Jonathan Gardner
US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure


In this month’s Azure Partner Community blog series, we are discussing Azure Networking. Read Part 1, about Networking features and services.

A very popular topic in the conversation about networking on Microsoft Azure is Azure ExpressRoute. Earlier this year, I provided an overview of ExpressRoute. As with all things cloud, there is almost constant evolution. In this post, I will cover updates since my previous post, explain what those changes mean for partners, and talk about how you can build ExpressRoute into your practice. I also have some perspective for you from a member of the ExpressRoute engineering team.  

Let’s start with what’s new. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 will be available soon, allowing for a dual connection between the Office 365 environment and a customer’s data center. This connection provides predictable reliability and connection redundancy to the Office 365 environment. Learn more about this in the announcement made earlier this year on the Office blog.


Also new, and announced at Ignite 2015, is that ExpressRoute and the new Standard VPN gateway can now coexist, allowing for scenarios where Site-to-Site VPN connectivity can be connected to a virtual network that also has a gateway connect to an ExpressRoute circuit.

This configuration enables a few different connection scenarios:

  • Use S2S VPN tunnel as a backup for your ExpressRoute connection
  • Connect branch offices that aren’t part of your WAN to your Azure virtual networks that are also connected via ExpressRoute
  • You can have Point-to-Site connections to the same Virtual Network that is also connected via ExpressRoute, enabling dev/test and mobile worker scenarios


Thoughts from Engineering

I spoke recently with Charley Wen from the ExpressRoute engineering team and asked him what he thinks partners should know about ExpressRoute. He emphasized that ExpressRoute is a key differentiator between Microsoft and its competitors. The global connectivity capabilities of ExpressRoute provide customers with predictable performance, higher bandwidth, and a private connection to their data in the cloud. He also mentioned that customers using ExpressRoute to access LOB applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, will benefit significantly from predictable, reliable connectivity to their applications. He recommends the ExpressRoute documentation page as the best resource for learning about it.

Why ExpressRoute is important to partners

These new enhancements to ExpressRoute open new project opportunities for partners, as there are new reasons for customers to engage partners to help get this set up. Management and monitoring of an Exchange Provider implementation are a significant Managed Services opportunity. The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program also presents new partner opportunities for delivering these services to customers. Learn more about the Microsoft CSP program.

Video resources for getting started with ExpressRoute

In addition to the links about ExpressRoute I’ve provided throughout this post, these videos will help you get started and learn more about it.

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute (watch online)

ExpressRoute overview (watch online)

ExpressRoute for Office 365 and other Network Connection Options (watch online)

Building Your Hybrid Cloud – Cross-Premises Virtual Networking with Site-to-Site VPN and ExpressRoute (watch online)

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