Yesterday Microsoft and AT&T made what I consider to be a major announcement for the future of cloud computing.
One of the trickiest parts of cloud computing is configuring the network connection to the cloud provider. Microsoft has made great strides in recent months to make it easier to make the Azure network feel like it’s a part of your internal network. This has enabled technologies like Hybrid AlwaysOn Availability Groups (which I’ll be presenting about this weekend at SQL Saturday San Diego, and again at the SQLPass Summit) where you have one node of your availability group in your data center, and another node in Windows Azure. With all that said—it still wasn’t easy to get the VPN working correctly (I’m not exactly a network guru), and a VPN connection was typically dependent on the public internet, which means latency can vary widely.
So with this partnership with AT&T (who is an American company, but does provide enterprise telecom worldwide) your data goes from your network to an AT&T routing center, then directly to Microsoft without ever reaching the public internet. More importantly, in addition to being fast and easier to setup it will be consistent, so you can tune your applications based on that latency.
One more hurdle to cloud just got a lot lower.