SES Networks tunes up private cloud connections with Azure ExpressRoute

SES Networks is the first satellite provider in Micrsoft's Azure ExpressRoute ecosystem. (SES Networks)

SES has ratcheted up its relationship and connectivity options with Microsoft Azure by becoming an Azure ExpressRoute services partner.

The partnership allows SES Networks to provide dedicated, private network connectivity across land, sea and air, and other hard to reach places by using its satellite systems. SES Networks CEO JP Hemingway said that becoming an Azure ExpressRoute partner was a milestone for his company as it seeks to offer connectivity solutions to enterprises, energy companies and government sites in places that are beyond the reach of fiber.

Hemingway said SES has been working with Microsoft Azure for a little more than a year. The fruits of those efforts included last month's announcement that SES was using the open networking automation platform (ONAP) in partnership with Microsoft Azure and Amdocs. ONAP is providing the orchestration capabilities for the ExpressRoute services.

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Monday's Azure ExpressRoute announcement was a big step toward SES's goal of providing a cloud-enabled, satellite connected suite of satellite services to both its customers and Microsoft's customers, according to Hemingway.

"There are many ExpressRoute Azure connectivity partners out there," Hemingway said. "But, obviously, they've been predominantly around terrestrial connectivity with the large telcos, which have now enabled great access to the cloud applications, cloud solutions, to those that are terrestrially connected.

"What we bring into the mix now is that we're enabling the breadth and the scale that satellite can enable so that we can bring cloud connectivity out to all of those users that we can reach that other options can't reach."

SES is able to provide connectivity services across its fleet of 50 Geostationary Earth Orbit (GE0) satellites and its 20 Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites. The 20 O3b MEO satellites in particular can deliver MEF-certified data connectivity services with low latency across Azure's global gateway network and terrestrial network infrastructure, all of which can be used facilitate edge compute services.

Azure customers also will be able to tap into SES’s next-generation MEO communications system, O3b mPOWER. Launching in 2021, O3b mPOWER will deliver 10 times the throughput of the existing O3b constellation.

 “We are collaborating with SES across a range of initiatives to build upon their expertise in satellite communications and increase connectivity to critical services and applications for customers in remote and underserved areas," said Ross Ortega, partner, product manager of Azure Networking, in a statement. "This new collaboration between SES and Microsoft Azure Express Route further enables us to bring Azure to any business or government site.”

Hemingway said that SES has a similar cloud agreement with IBM Cloud Direct Link, and that he expects additional cloud partners going forward.

SES also announced on Monday an expanded collaboration with Microsoft to use Azure’s cloud and AI capabilities to deliver one of the first broadcast-grade cloud services for media delivery.

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