Microsoft acquires flash storage pioneer Avere Systems, less than a year after Google investment

Microsoft has reached an agreement to acquire Avere Systems, a Pittsburgh-based company that leverages flash storage to optimize the process of saving and retrieving files in the cloud and other high-performance computing scenarios.

Ronald Bianchini Jr., president and CEO of Avere Systems. (Avere Photo)

Avere, founded in 2008, has raised $97 million in multiple investment rounds, from backers including Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Tenaya Capital.

The company has also attracted the attention of Microsoft’s cloud rivals — most notably Google, which invested in Avere’s $14 million Series E funding round in March last year. Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform are listed as Avere’s public cloud partners. Update: A Microsoft spokesperson says the company “will continue support third-party cloud providers.”

Financial terms of the Microsoft acquisition weren’t immediately disclosed. Microsoft says Avere’s team will continue to work out of Pittsburgh after the deal closes.

“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,” says Jason Zander, Microsoft Azure corporate vice president, announcing the news this morning. “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 customers cited by Microsoft include Sony Pictures Imageworks, The Library of Congress, and John Hopkins University, spanning industries including media/entertainment, life sciences, education, oil/gas, financial services, and manufacturing.

Ronald Bianchini Jr., president and CEO of Avere Systems, writes this morning that “Microsoft has made significant investments to provide its customers with the most flexible, secure and scalable storage solutions in the marketplace and has made Azure the natural home for enterprise applications. This shared focus on large Enterprise applications makes Microsoft a great fit for Avere.”

He adds, “Avere and Microsoft both recognize that there are many ways for Enterprises to leverage data center resources and the cloud. Our shared vision is to continue our focus on all of Avere’s use cases – in the datacenter, in the cloud and in hybrid cloud storage and cloud bursting environments. Tighter integration with Azure will result in a much more seamless experience for our customers.”

In addition to Bianchini, Avere’s co-founders include Michael Kazar, chief technology officer, a file systems pioneer; and Dan Nydick, who worked with Kazar and Bianchini previously at Spinnaker Networks. All three have roots at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.