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Microsoft has announced a plan to acquire Avere Systems, a hybrid cloud data storage company based in Pittsburgh.

Avere Systems brings to the market NAS Optimization solutions designed specifically to scale performance and capacity separately and take advantage of new Flash-based storage media using real-time tiering. Founded on 2008 by a team of seasoned storage experts, and the President and CEO Ronald Bianchini, Jr. was a Senior Vice President at NetApp. Before it, he was CEO and Co-Founder of Spinnaker Networks, which developed the Storage Grid architecture acquired by NetApp. Also the CTO Michael Kazar has worked on versions of Carnegie Mellon University’s Andrew File System as well as the Andrew Toolkit, an OLE-like windowing toolkit.

Avere solution is very interesting and I’ve met them several years ago during a Powering The Cloud event at Frankfurt.

Notably, Avere Systems already counts both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google’s Cloud Platform as cloud partners, but not Microsoft. Avere had raised around $86 million in equity funding since its inception, including a $14 million tranche less than a year ago that saw Google jump on board as a new investor.

Will be interesting see how that partnership will change if Microsoft will own the company.

“By bringing together Avere’s storage expertise with the power of Microsoft’s cloud, customers will benefit from industry-leading innovations that enable the largest, most complex high-performance workloads to run in Microsoft Azure,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president at Microsoft Azure. “We are excited to welcome Avere to Microsoft and look forward to the impact their technology and the team will have on Azure and the customer experience.”

Avere Systems’ president and CEO, Ronald Bianchini Jr., also discussed his intention to continue working on all of Avere’s existing use-cases “in the datacenter, in the cloud, and in hybrid cloud storage and cloud bursting environments,” he wrote in a separate blog post. “Tighter integration with Azure will result in a much more seamless experience for our customers.”

Microsoft seems to invest more and more in different assets to become a storage vendor? But they already have a full stack, included a complete scale-out solution, so why spend much on products that may overlap together?

To build a better hybrid solution? But there is already StorSimple cloud-integrated storage, a nice solution, but with a terrible selling and market position. Maybe they are looking at something better?

Or they are trying to build something also outside Azure to build a multi-(public-)cloud solution? In this case, Avere could be really interesting considering that they already have a solution for AWS and Google platform and its product has a specific solution to optimize latency and network traffic.