Packet serves up virtual interconnects with Microsoft Azure

Bare metal automation vendor Packet announced a new service that enables automated interconnects with Microsoft Azure for cloud and IoT applications.

Packet Connect was built using Packet's automation software and APIs to provide virtual interconnections for developers working with Azure. Packet Connect allows the users to pay on an hourly or per gigabit basis.

"We've gone beyond just automating with an API to also making a commercial model that is usage based so developers don't have to pay for dedicated ports or pipes," said Packet CTO Ihab Tarazi, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "They can just pay for the usage while they are using the server, which is usually by the hour."

Packet Connect supports virtual connects at speeds from 100Mbps to 10Gbps. It's currently available in Packet's New York, Silicon Valley, Dallas and Amsterdam data centers as well as all of its edge locations.

Tarazi said it took about three months to develop Packet Connect. Packet uses golang for API and automation.

"Because of all of the automation, tooling and process we're using from a DevOps perspective, it was a very fast process," he said. "It was the fastest development process of my life. Everything is exposed via REST API, which is the standard consumption model for developers."

Tarazi said Packet was also working on integration with some of the more popular software platforms, with Red Hat's Ansible and Terraform, which is by Hashi, as the first priorities.

"From those platforms, you can automatically implement Packet Connect," he said. "These software platforms are now linking the physical world of servers, networking and connections via APIs and open source software platforms so the developers don't even have to know what it takes to build a connection. That's fantastic. That's very exciting."

Packet currently has 20 data centers, but it plans to expand that number this year. Packet Connect will be available in the 30 new data centers that the company plans to open this year, as well as all of the clouds.

Tarazi said Packet would be adding additional cloud service providers over the next 60 days, which will include "all of the big clouds."

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Packet integrates software operating system (OS) platforms, including Kubernetes, into bare-metal servers in its public clouds that are hosted in Packet's data centers. Packet's users, which include developers that work at enterprises and telcos, can pick their own hardware, which is then automated for use by Packet's software.

Packet's bare metal cloud platform was developed both for the core cloud and for use at the edge with cell towers.

Going forward, Packet is one of the vendors working with Sprint on the telco's "Curiosity" IoT platform, which was first announced at Mobile World Congress Americas in September. Softbank is an investor in both Packet and Sprint.

"This is really a big deal because now someone is using bare metal cloud for a wireless architecture," Tarazi said. "We just started deployment and implementation work with Sprint on the IoT side. This is a really critical step to provide people high capacity bandwidth and low latency for their IoT applications."

Tarazi said Packet would be able to offer more details on its work with Sprint over the coming months.

Packet, which currently has about 100 employees, makes its headquarters in New York City. It opened a Silicon Valley office in Palo Alto in October.

In September, Packet announced a $25 million series B funding round led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from Battery Ventures, JA Mitsui Leasing and Samsung NEXT as well as existing investors SoftBank Corp. and Dell Technologies Capital. Packet was founded in 2014.