Microsoft acquires Avere Systems to further hybrid computing mission

In a world shifting to the cloud, Microsoft has carved out a place trying to help companies caught between two worlds — on-prem legacy solutions and the public and private cloud. To help further that hybrid mission, the company announced it was acquiring Avere Systems today for an undisclosed amount.

Microsoft describes Avere as “a leading provider of high-performance NFS and SMB file-based storage for Linux and Windows clients running in cloud, hybrid and on-premises environments.” That’s a mouthful, but essentially the company has focused on maximizing storage performance, especially in more expensive flash storage, regardless of where you store your files.

Avere’s president and CEO Ronald Bianchini Jr., wrote in a company blog post that the company has worked hard since its inception to provide highly efficient file storage solutions. “Our customers efficiently share both storage and compute resources across multiple data centers, and effectively implement and use private and public cloud infrastructures,” Bianchini wrote.

That is precisely a focus of Microsoft’s cloud strategy, so it appears to be an excellent fit. In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure, Jason Zander, described Avere’s approach. “Avere uses an innovative combination of file system and caching technologies to support the performance requirements for customers who run large-scale compute workloads.”

This could be particularly useful for high-performance media customers like Sony Pictures Imageworks, animation studio Illumination Mac Guff and Moving Picture Company (MPC).

But it doesn’t stop there. Zander wrote that the Avere technology could also be useful in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services and manufacturing or anywhere companies could benefit from more efficient use of high performance storage and compute resources.

Microsoft expects the deal to be finalized in the coming months subject to the customary approval process in these kinds of deals. The company has indicated that the Avere team will be coming on board as part of the deal and they will retain their Pittsburgh offices.

As Avere becomes part of the Microsoft Azure family, it’s unclear what impact it will have on existing customers, but there is always some adjustment when a company gets acquired in this fashion.

Avere was founded in 2008 and has raised $86 million with its most recent investment, a $14 million Series E coming last year in March. Investors in the E round included Google and Western Digital, but it was Microsoft who comes away with the prize.

Previous investors included Lightspeed Ventures, Tenaya Capital, Menlo Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners.