Microsoft has announced a new program that partners with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to streamline network access to Azure.
For the initial launch of the program, Microsoft has announced eight partners, including Aryaka, BT, Dimension Data, and Tata Communications. The full list is here.
I got a briefing from Aryaka about the partnership and how it works. Aryaka offers a managed SD-WAN service that leverages its own private network. The company anticipates that this new partnership will help raise its visibility among Azure customers.
Customers of Aryaka and Azure can create links from branch and remote offices to Azure VNets. A VNet is similar to a VPC in AWS; it’s the private network that connects a customer’s Azure resources and enables communication with the public Internet. A VNet also enables traffic filtering, and can host networking and security applications.
With this new program, Aryaka customers can link branch and remote sites to Azure in a few ways, including basic IPSec tunnels and through ExpressRoute. With either approach, customers that connect multiple branches can configure and monitor those all tunnels using Aryaka’s centralized console.
For the IPSec option, customers set up IPSec tunnels between an Aryaka branch device, called the Aryaka Network Access Point (ANAP), and the target VNet. The ANAP provides Aryaka’s SD-WAN capabilities.
In the ExpressRoute option, customers use the ANAP devices at their branches to direct traffic to Aryaka’s private network. This private network terminates in an Aryaka PoP within a colo facility that also hosts Azure’s ExpressRoute infrastructure. ExpressRoute provide a direct, private connection into Azure data centers.
Aryaka says it supports ExpressRoute connections in ten Azure regions in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America.
Note that these partnerships between Azure and the MSPs don’t combine billing or management. You’ll still have to pay Aryaka separately for its service, and Microsoft Azure for the resources you consume.
In addition, Aryaka doesn’t take over management of the Azure VNets or other network services within Azure. Aryaka configures and monitors the connection from its ANAP devices, across its private backbone, and up to the handoff over to the Azure VNet boundary. That’s where Aryaka stops.
You’ll still need to configure, monitor, and manage the Azure side of the equation using Azure’s console and tools.