Every day, people around the world connect to Microsoft Azure, Bing, Dynamics 365, Office 365, OneDrive, Xbox, and many other services through trillions of requests.
Your traffic enters our global network through strategically placed Microsoft edge nodes, our points of presence. These edge nodes are directly interconnected to more than 2,500 unique Internet partners through thousands of connections in more than 130 locations. Microsoft’s rich interconnection strategy optimizes the paths that data travels on their global network. As a user you get a better network experience with less latency, jitter, and packet loss with more throughput. Direct interconnections give customers better quality of service compared to transit links, because there are fewer hops, fewer parties, and better networking paths.
Azure traffic between Microsoft datacenters stays on their network and does not flow over the Internet. This includes all traffic between Microsoft services anywhere in the world. For example, within Azure, traffic between virtual machines, storage, and SQL communication traverses only the Microsoft network, regardless of the source and destination region. Intra-region VNet-to-VNet traffic, as well as cross-region VNet-to-VNet traffic, stays on the Microsoft network.
To give customers a service that works well, Microsoft’s network must be able to handle failures and rapidly respond to demand spikes. To support the tremendous growth of the cloud services and maintain consistent service level agreements, Microsoft invest in private fiber (sometimes called dark fiber), for their metro, terrestrial, and submarine paths. Microsoft owns and runs one of the largest backbone networks in the world, connecting our datacenters and customers. Over the last three years, they have grown their long-haul WAN capacity by 700 percent. Within a given region, they can support up to 1.6 Pbps of inter-datacenter bandwidth. Microsoft continues to increase capacity to meet the strong demand for Microsoft cloud services.
Microsoft’s submarine investments improve resiliency, performance, and reliability across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Their latest investment is the MAREA cable, a 6,600 km submarine cable between Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, and Bilbao, Spain, which they jointly developed with Facebook. MAREA will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to cross the Atlantic, featuring eight fiber pairs and an initial estimated design capacity of 160 Tbps. This open cable system is an innovation in submarine cable design and delivery, which allows for greater bandwidth capacity thresholds and reduces cost.
Global network infrastructure can be surprisingly vulnerable. For example, fiber optic cables can be cut by ship anchors dragging along the seabed. For an example, see a ship accidentally cut Jersey’s internet cables with its anchor. To provide the reliability the cloud needs, Microsoft has many physical networking paths with automatic routing around failures for optimal reliability.