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Internet2 and Microsoft Launch Direct Peering for Windows Azure and Office 365 Education

Internet2 and Microsoft have launched a new direct peering agreement to provide students, staff, and researchers at Internet2 member institutions with faster and more secure access to Windows Azure and Office 365 Education.

Direct peering means Windows Azure and Office 365 Education data will travel over the Internet2 network rather than the public Internet. Because Internet2 recently completed a significant expansion of its network to 100 gigabit per second bandwidth, the service will provide Internet2 member institutions with high bandwidth connections to those services with minimal delay or latency.

The enhanced service will "help schools quickly build, deploy, and manage cloud applications so they can benefit from big data insights," said Margo Day, vice president, Microsoft US Education, in a prepared statement. "Windows Azure's global and scalable cloud infrastructure enables education institutions to meet their research goals and serve their students' needs on an open and flexible cloud platform."

Direct peering between Internet2 and Microsoft cloud services will enable "improved access to infrastructure and application service that support virtual learning environments and large-scale data intensive research projects through the use of Microsoft's high performance computing clusters, collaboration tools, and disaster recovery services," according to Internet2.

"Big Data researchers need the power of a service like Windows Azure. With Internet2, they will be able to transfer very large data sets to and from Windows Azure across Internet2's 100 gigabit per second network," said Kelli Trosvig, vice president for information technology and chief information officer at the University of Washington, in a prepared statement. "This same high-performance will also be available for applications such as Office 365 Education."

According to Elias G. Eldayrie, vice president and chief information officer at the University of Florida, "these services not only address campuses' big data research, communication, collaboration, and compute needs but also enable the higher education community to be HIPAA and FERPA compliant."

Further information about the direct peering agreement between Internet2 and Microsoft can be found at internet2.edu.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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