According to surveys done by various interested organizations and vendors, one of the biggest hurdles to enterprise adoption of cloud services is the public nature of the cloud. Concerns over performance, availability, and above all, security of data -- both as it is stored and as it is transmitted, -- make enterprise customers think twice before even considering cloud services as a viable alternative to traditional IT solutions.
The best known public service provider, Amazon Web Services, addresses this issue by offering Amazon Web Services Direct Connect. This service gives users a direct, private connection to an AWS Direct Connect location using standard protocols and connection options. By using VLANS, the connection can be partitioned to provide service to both Direct Connect and the public cloud based Amazon S3 space.
This doesn’t change the backend options, but simply provides a connection type that is private and meets corporate needs for availability, performance, and security.
To round out their portfolio of cloud offerings, Microsoft is now previewing their own direct connection to their Azure cloud system called Windows Azure ExpressRoute. Working with partners Level 3, Equinix, and AT&T in this initial rollout, Microsoft is offering two types of ExpressRoute connections; via their Exchange Providers and via the carrier WAN connections.
The Exchange partner connections offer fixed pricing on network speeds from dual-port 1 Gbs to 10 Gbps, while the carrier connections start out with as liitle as a 10Mbps connection at a commensurate price.
With a goal of providing a seamless and secure connection that allows businesses to extend their networks into their cloud services without the worry of using the public Internet, both Microsoft and Amazon provide a similar list of services and capabilities. Price structures are similar, as well, though the two services bill in different fashions for moving data. The Microsoft Azure service currently is offering preview promotional prices that are 50 percent of what the final pricing will be when the service goes into widespread general availability.