BCE Inc.’s Bell announced on Monday that it is now reselling the full suite of Microsoft Azure services and providing private broadband network access to the public cloud.

The new services build on a partnership announced by Bell and Microsoft Canada last May. Then, Bell was the first Canadian telecommunications carrier to access Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, meaning that Bell Cloud Connect customers had direct and dedicated network access to Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM Online. Now Bell is offering Azure’s Compute, Backup, and Disaster Recovery services through the same access.

Providing access to Microsoft’s public cloud service is complementary to Bell’s own outsourced data centre services, which includes the Q9 Networks Inc. business it acquired last August, explains Mike LaPalme, director of product management at Bell.

“Customers are going to consume cloud from a hybrid perspective,” he says. “They’ll consume capabilities that are private cloud-oriented, that’s a capability we have today with the Q9 partnership, and the Microsoft Azure relationship is the public cloud component.”

LaPalme defines public cloud as a multi-tenant, shared environment and private cloud as one cluster per customer.

Azure isn’t the first public cloud service that Bell has partnered with. It launched a similar direct-access partnership with IBM Corp.’s Canadian cloud offerings in February 2016.

By physically connecting with its public cloud partners at major access points like Toronto and Montreal, Bell Cloud Connect helps customers guide their data in transit in addition to controlling where it’s physically stored. LaPalme says Bell’s connections to Azure are made only at its three Canadian data centre locations.

“It’s a dedicated layer three, MPLS network,” he says. “It’s an alternative to the public Internet.”

That helps provide not only support for compliance requirements that might require data to stay within Canadian borders, but LaPalme says it improves performance and security as well. It also allows customers using both private cloud at Bell’s 28 data centres and Azure services to more easily migrate workloads.

Bell Cloud Connect is paid for on a subscription basis and the pricing for Azure services is consistent with other Azure partners across the country, he adds.

 

 



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