Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers will be able to use Azure ExpressRoute to establish a private, managed connection to CRM Online later this year. So reports Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Dynamics CRM Bob Stutz on the Dynamics blog. As Stutz describes, “ExpressRoute delivers the benefits of public cloud, while surpassing the network reliability and privacy of the Internet.”
Azure ExpressRoute launched in 2014, and CRM customers have been asking for the capability, according to Stutz. Azure ExpressRoute will enable customers to establish a private, managed connection to CRM Online. At present, ExpressRoute provides customers with dedicated network connectivity through a private connection from their networks to Microsoft Azure, and writes Stutz, “We’re excited to extend the same option for connectivity to CRM Online.”
Stutz likens ExpressRoute for CRM Online to having the full CRM Online productivity solution in your own datacenter. The benefits customers can expect include more predictable network performance, the ability to better manage network availability and the reliability that comes with dedicated connectivity. Also true, with ExpressRoute most CRM Online network traffic can avoid the public Internet for added data privacy.
“It is a great option for organizations that require premium, managed connectivity to their productivity services,” writes Stutz. “It allows organizations to define all aspects of your network connectivity provider’s connection from Microsoft to their users, helping ensure predictable network performance and availability. Our customers can also use multiple ExpressRoute providers to establish ExpressRoute circuits in different geographic locations for additional redundancy and geo-resiliency.”
Each ExpressRoute circuit automatically delivers two active physical connections for high availability, and the Microsoft networking elements are backed by Microsoft’s connection uptime service-level agreement (SLA of 99.9). “We’re the only public cloud provider to offer this level of guaranteed availability for the connection,” claims Stutz and “Of course, we are also the only public cloud provider who can offer both Azure and CRM Online services on a single network connection.”
ExpressRoute is available today for access to Azure services, and is expected to be available for CRM Online in Q4 of 2015.
Azure File Storage now available
Microsoft has also announced general availability of Azure File Storage, which enables fully managed file shares in the cloud. As Jason Tang, senior program manager of Azure Storage describes, because Azure File Storage exposes file shares using the Server Message Block 3.0 (SMB) protocol which is “The predominantly used file share protocol for existing on-premises applications, it simplifies moving your existing applications to the cloud.” Also true, because Azure File Storage allows applications to mount file shares from anywhere in the world, on-premise applications can take advantage of cloud storage without change. Azure File Storage also implements REST API protocol, which enables developing modern applications that integrate with existing applications.
With the general availability release of Azure File Storage, Microsoft is announcing these four new features:
- SMB 3.0 support, includes encryption and persistent handles
- A new browser-based file explorer in the Azure Preview portal
- Azure Storage Metrics for Azure File storage
- The ability to mount Azure File Storage file shares from outside of Azure datacenters
Further, Azure File Storage API endpoints are now enabled for all existing storage accounts, so you no longer need to create a new storage account just to use Azure File Storage.