Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is a connectivity option offered as part of the Azure platform that allows companies using Azure to establish dedicated, private connectivity to their Azure deployments. Connectivity via Azure is both Layer 2 and Layer 3; customers set up a Layer 2 network connection via ExpressRoute and use BGP peering to establish dynamic routing between their physical environments and Azure.

The benefits of Azure ExpressRoute include:

  • Private connectivity offering security enhancements
  • More predictable performance with lower latency and jitter (compared with connecting over the Internet)
  • Cost savings on egress traffic from your Azure environment
  • Higher supported throughput

Key Concepts

You should be aware of the terms and concepts, as they will help you understand how Azure ExpressRoute and Pureport work together.

ExpressRoute Regions - By default, you access all Azure Regions within a given geopolitical region from an ExpressRoute connection in that same geopolitical region. For example, you can access Azure resources anywhere in North America from an ExpressRoute connection anywhere in the North America geopolitical region. Refer to the Microsoft documentation on peering locations for more information. Generally, when creating an ExpressRoute connection, you should select the Pureport location closest to your Azure assets.

VNET - Virtual Network - A VNET is the Azure equivalent of a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) and enables resources such as Virtual Machines to communicate with one another. This virtual network closely resembles a traditional network that you'd operate in your own data center with the added benefits of using the scalable infrastructure of Microsoft Azure.

ExpressRoute Gateway - A virtual router used to terminate an ExpressRoute connection via BGP and connect to a VNET. An ExpressRoute connection requires an ExpressRoute Gateway to connect to the VNET, and is billable per hour based on the performance required. Typically the Standard SKU is sufficient in most situations, but more information is available on the ExpressRoute Virtual Gateway page on the Azure knowledgebase.

Service Key - A unique identifier generated during the creation of an ExpressRoute circuit. Once you create your ExpressRoute circuit in the Azure console, you use the Service Key to connect to the circuit in the Pureport Console. Pureport uses the service key, along with your requested connection location and capacity, to complete the configuration of your ExpressRoute connection.

High Availability

All Azure ExpressRoute circuits consist of a redundant pair of connections designed to provide High Availability. Pureport supports this configuration by default and it cannot be disabled.

Billing with ExpressRoute

When using Pureport to connect to ExpressRoute, Microsoft bills you directly for the ExpressRoute fees and for any egress bandwidth. Pureport only charges for the Connection to your Pureport Network and any long-haul fees you may incur. Azure ExpressRoute pricing is listed here.