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Azure Express Route (Day 8 of 31)

List of all posts from this series: http://vunvulearadu.blogspot.ro/2014/11/azure-blog-post-marathon-is-ready-to.html

Short Description 
Express Routes is a private connection between your network (on-premises) and Azure Data Centers. When using this feature, you have a direct connection with Azure Data Centers, that is not shared with other users.
Because of this, a connection like this is not only fast but is also extremely secure. All traffic from clients that use this feature is spitted in two ‘channels’. One channel is used for traffic that hits Azure public services and the second one for traffic that hits Azure Compute resources. For each of this channels (Direct Layer 3 and Layer 3), there are different speed that are guaranteed.


Main Features 
Not over public Internet
Connection that are made over Express Route are going over a private connection that is not connected to the ‘known internet’.
More secure
Data that are send over the wire is more secure because the connection is over a private wire that cannot be accessed by public users.
Faster speed
The speeds that are offered over this connection are higher and bandwidth is dedicated to you.
Lower latency
Having a direct connection between you and Azure data center, reduce the latency that normally exists between two endpoints.
Bandwidth Available
There are different options of bandwidth that are available from 10 Mbps and goes to 10 Gbsp.
Connection Redundancy
Yes, we even have connection redundancy. For Layer 3 Connectivity (over Network Service Providers) can have a redundant connection (Active Active connection).
Easy migration from S2S and P2S
If you already use Site to Site of Point to Site and want to migrate to Express Route you will discover that migration can be made very easily.
Virtual networks
All virtual networks that are connected to the same Express Route can talk with each other. You will be able to connect virtual networks from different subscriptions as long as all of them are connected to the same express route.
All Virtual Networks connected to the same Express Route are part from the same routing domain and are not isolation between them. If you need isolation between than you will need to create different express routes for each of them.

Limitations 
Number of routes
In this moment there is a limit up to 4.000 routes for public peering and 3.000 routes for private peering.
S2S or P2S cannot be used in combination with Express Route
You cannot use both methods to connect to Azure infrastructure. If you use Express Route, that you will not be able to use for the same connection S2S or P2S.
Multiple Providers
Each Express Route can be associated with only one provider. Because of this you cannot associates the same Express Route with multiple providers.
VLANs to Azure Express Route
Layer 2 connectivity extensions to Azure is not supported.

Applicable Use Cases 
Below you can find 4 use cases when Express Route can be used with success:
Video Streaming
When you are using Azure Media Services for video streaming. In this case you will want to be able to stream live content to Azure Media Services all the time. In this case you need a stable connection between your studios and Azure Data Centers. In this case Express Route can be a good option for you.
Monitor and Support
If your infrastructure and services are on Azure, than you will need at monitor and support phase an Express Connection between you and Azure. Support team needs to be able to access your Azure services in a fast and reliable way.
Data Storage
When you are using Azure Storage or SQL Azure to store your data, you will also want a low latency and fast connection between your data and your on-premises infrastructure. Express Routes can be a solution for this problem.
Bank data privacy
If you are a bank and need a secure connection between on-premises sites and your Azure services thank Express Route can be a very good solution. Using it you will have a secure connection that cannot be accessed from internet.

Code Sample
The only same code that I could add are different part of Power Shell scripts that are used to configure and manage Express Route. To add more value to this section I added the deployment workflow diagram that can be found on MSDN.


Pros and Cons 
Pros

  • Fast
  • Secure
  • Reliable
  • Redundant 
  • Easy to connect

Cons

  • Not available worldwide yet


Pricing 
The pricing is based on outbound traffic. A part of outbound is free, included in subscription. Exceeding it, you will be charged with a small rate per GB. The included data transfer traffic may defer based on Exchange provider port speed that you prefer to use.
When you calculate the costs of using Express Route you should take into account:
Exchange Provider Port Speed
Outbound Data Transfer

Conclusion
Azure Express Route can be used with success when you want to connect your on-premises infrastructure with Azure services, having a reliable and fast connection. This is a feature that should be used by all enterprise users that host their backend on Microsoft Azure.

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