Microsoft has announced what it says is “much-anticipated” Azure ExpressRoute availability in New Zealand.
It said the service would enable customers to benefit from a dedicated private connection that bypasses the public internet and delivers predicable performance, lower latency and SLA-based connectivity to Azure.
“New Zealanders will no longer have to connect to the ExpressRoute site in Australia, but will have their own dedicated New Zealand site that enables them to leverage Microsoft’s vast global network locally from Auckland,” Microsoft said.
The service has certainly been much-anticipated. It has been available in Australia since 2014 when Computerworld reported that Kordia had become the first Australasian telco to connect with, and provide, a private access service to Microsoft’s Azure platform via ExpressRoute.
Just six months later we reported Equinix announcing it would be among the first to offer private, managed connections to Microsoft Office 365 via Azure ExpressRoute, through the Equinix Cloud Exchange: in Australia, but not New Zealand.
New Zealand businesses were even finding it advantageous to use the Australian service rather than local alternatives.
In October 2017, in a Microsoft case study, Chris Cunningham, business solutions manager at Fire and Emergency New Zealand, talked about the advantages of ExpressRoute, saying: “Now the emergency communications centre in New Zealand can send a message that is handed to the fire service on a dedicated fibre line. From there, we pass it up through Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute to the Azure environment and then over the internet and back down to the trucks.”
But he added: “Even though the message essentially goes to Australia and back, we still beat local radio dispatch times by up to 20 seconds.”
Microsoft did not explain why it had taken almost five years to get ExpressRoute in New Zealand following its Australian launch, but Patrick Quesnel, senior cloud and enterprise business group lead at Microsoft New Zealand, said Microsoft New Zealand had “worked tirelessly to deliver an Azure ExpressRoute site here for our customers.”
With the launch of ExpressRoute in New Zealand, Microsoft said customers would be able to choose from a large ecosystem of local carrier partners, benefit from more deployment options and lower connectivity costs.
“With the new ExpressRoute site New Zealanders can benefit from multiple deployment models, including an any-to-any (IP VPN), a point-to-point Ethernet connection or now a virtual cross-connection through a connectivity provider at a local co-location facility,” it said.
Local ExpressRoute services will initially be provided by Megaport, Vocus, Spark, Kordia and Devoli.