Egnyte announces deep partnership with Microsoft…at Dreamforce

Egnyte announced today that moving forward, it would be using Microsoft Azure as its primary cloud partner. While it would continue to support other cloud vendors like market leader AWS, it likely means that the company sees the best way to succeed inside the Azure ecosystem.

In an interesting twist, instead of making the announcement last week at Microsoft’s Ignite conference, Egnyte decided to deliver the news at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s massive customer conference, where it will have a booth presence this week.

Egnyte has always tried to differentiate itself from the online storage crowd with a hybrid strategy that let you keep your storage in the cloud or on prem, as you prefer, happy to be the layer on top of all that. That’s an approach that’s worked well as far as it goes, but this week the company decided to take a different tack.

Company CEO Vineet Jain says the change is really a response to what they are hearing from customers, and as such he expects the partnership to drive more business. “What we are finding as we go deeper into the enterprise, is that Azure is the platform of choice,” he said.

While the company’s products will be available in the Azure marketplace along with many others, the hope is that by aligning more closely with Microsoft, Egnyte can become an integral part of its sales ecosystem. It is trying to ignite the immense Microsoft sales team to help push them deeper into the enterprise and generate more business.

It’s not a strategy without risk. While it continues to try to play up its neutrality, Egnyte has clearly hitched its immediate future to Microsoft. Jain wouldn’t give much credence to the idea the partnership could lead to something more, like a possible future acquisition by Redmond. He insisted for him it was about increasing his market clout and seeing how this plays out over the next couple of quarters.

“While it appears there is a tighter alignment that could lead to something else, you don’t have to read between the lines. From my perspective, it’s about the tight alignment in go-to market,” Jain explained.

He admits that they would always listen should a substantial offer come their way, but ultimately he’s focused on making Egnyte as big as possible in the next 2-4 years.

Egnyte has raised $62.5 million, according to Crunchbase. The most recent round was In December, 2013.