Microsoft’s acquisition of Avere for an undisclosed sum, announced at the beginning of the year, marks the swallowing of an always-interesting storage player and a significant move for Microsoft and its cloud strategy.
The move is a clear play to boost Microsoft’s hybrid cloud capabilities, and aims to meet the need of businesses for whom the cloud in its pure form still can’t cut it for their workloads, on grounds of availability or performance.
Avere’s products have always had something to do with improving performance across multiple locations
It started in 2008 with its NAS acceleration boxes – the FXT products, dubbed Edge Filers – that boosted access to core NAS clusters. Then Avere added the vFXT virtual versions of these and added cloud capability and tiering, within the cloud (using Amazon’s various classes of storage) and between on-site and cloud locations, including with a single namespace in its C2N hybrid cloud NAS-object storage appliance.
Such capabilities look likely to be added to the Azure stable at Microsoft and would offer customers a rich set of hybrid cloud possibilities, with tiering in the cloud and between on- and off-site locations.
The pull towards hybrid cloud is that increasingly organisations want data portability between on-site and cloud to be able to deal with availability issues as well as being able to burst for performance reasons.
What also stands out is that this is the first time I can recall a company like Microsoft – in the guise of cloud provider – acquiring a storage vendor.
The cloud is surely the future, with compute and storage increasingly provided as a service in the medium- to long-term, despite current concerns over availability, security etc.
Will this acquisition be the first of many in which storage is reconfigured as a hybrid function between datacentre and cloud?