Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 went Generally Available (GA) late Sept 2015. This was a big announcement that I had been waiting for publically.
Azure ExpressRoute allows Office 365 customer to make a private / managed network connection to Office 365. Up this point customers have to connect over the Internet or establish their own peering connection to Microsoft. With ExpressRoute Office 365 customers get a predictable network performance, SLA for that connection and additional privacy of their data (as the Office 365 traffic is being taken off the public Internet).
There are several ways to establish a connection. First if you are already using Azure ExpressRoute for Azure services, this can be used for Office 365. Second you can us IP VPN for WAN where by Office 365 can appear as a node on your WAN. In this case Office 365 will just seem as an offsite datacenter. Third ExpressRoute supports large or point-to-point network connections to a co-location facility.
There are some good FAQs:
- ExpressRoute is available from where your network operator has locations available. This will require coordination with your providers and determining how you want to allow your users to connect.
- Not all Office 365 services are supported with Azure ExpressRoute. For the initial release the following is supported: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Azure Active Directory, Office 365 Video, Power BI, Delve and Project Online.
- There is a tool called Office Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA) which has new performance metrics.