Announcing general availability of ExpressRoute for Office 365

Editor’s note 7/31/2017:
Microsoft changed how the Microsoft Peering routing domain is reviewed for Azure ExpressRoute. Starting July 31, 2017, all Azure ExpressRoute customers can enable Microsoft Peering directly from the Azure Administrative console or via PowerShell. After enabling Microsoft Peering, any customer can create route filters to receive BGP route advertisements for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications (formerly known as CRM Online). Customers needing Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 must obtain review from Microsoft before they can create route filters for Office 365. Please contact your Microsoft Account team to learn about how to request a review for enabling Office 365 ExpressRoute. Unauthorized subscriptions trying to create route filters for Office 365 will receive an error message.

Editor’s note 6/6/2016:
Please review our guidance on network connectivity for Office 365 including specific scenarios where ExpressRoute for Office 365 is recommended.

 

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet. This direct connection offers customers more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy. As more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration and communications, they will come to depend more and more on the network connectivity they have between their users and Office 365.

Today we’re pleased to announce that Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

  • British Telecom
  • Equinix
  • Tata Communications
  • TeleCity Group
  • Verizon

You can read about how Microsoft is using ExpressRoute for Office 365 in the Microsoft IT white paper, “Optimizing network performance for Microsoft Office 365.”

Connecting your network to Office 365 using Azure ExpressRoute

Depending on your network configuration, here’s how you can work with network operators offering ExpressRoute for Office 365 to establish a connection between your network and Office 365:

  • If your organization already uses Azure ExpressRoute, your network operator can simply turn on the connectivity for you. Since use of Office 365 generates additional network traffic, you should discuss the requirements for additional bandwidth with your network operator.
  • Organizations using IP VPN technology for a WAN provided by a network operator can ask the network operator to add Office 365 as a node on your WAN. Once Office 365 connectivity is added, Office 365 services appear as if they are on your WAN—like an offsite datacenter.
  • ExpressRoute can also support large or point-to-point network connections. If you have a large broad network, then you may already have a network connection in a co-location facility where Azure ExpressRoute is available. You should work with your network provider to identify the best way to connect to Azure ExpressRoute.

For more information, read about ExpressRoute for Office 365 here and watch this episode of Office Mechanics:

Frequently asked questions

Q. Where in the world is ExpressRoute for Office 365 available?

A. Your users can connect from anywhere in the world that your network operator provides access. Each network operator connects to the Microsoft network at specific locations. They can provide networking from the user location to the Microsoft network connection. You should discuss the options with your network operator. The locations where they will connect to Microsoft’s network are listed here.

Q. How do organizations purchase ExpressRoute for Office 365?

A. Customers needing Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 must obtain review from Microsoft before they can create route filters for Office 365. Please contact your Microsoft account team and learn about how to request a review for enabling Office 365 ExpressRoute. Unauthorized subscriptions trying to create route filters for Office 365 will receive an error message.

Q. Are there any Office 365 services that Azure ExpressRoute cannot provide a connection to?

A. Today connectivity is available for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Azure Active Directory, Office 365 Video, Power BI, Delve and Project Online. Services that ExpressRoute does not provide connectivity to include download of Office 365 ProPlus installation files, Yammer, Domain Name Service and Content Delivery Network servers.

Q. Is QoS supported on Azure ExpressRoute?

A. Yes. QoS is supported for Skype for Business Online over Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.

Q. Does Microsoft provide tools to test for network performance issues?

A. Yes. We have the Office Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA), which was recently updated to add a number of new performance test metrics. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 may be a solution to network performance problems experienced by users. OCPA can be downloaded from the Office 365 admin console here.

For customers with Premier support contracts, Microsoft has a service offering for Office 365 Network Performance Assessment. Please contact your Technical Account Manager for details.

Q. Can Office 365 for U.S. Government (GCC) use ExpressRoute for Office 365?

A. Yes. ExpressRoute is compatible with Office 365 G SKUs. If a GCC customer chooses ExpressRoute, they should be aware that this will be the commercial Azure ExpressRoute service rather than the Azure Government ExpressRoute service. Currently Office 365 cannot be connected to via Azure Government ExpressRoute as announced here.