For successful enterprises and organizations, information technology infrastructure in the modern digital economy is dependent upon the benefits provided by private, public, and hybrid cloud computing platforms. High-capacity and high-performance storage, along with burst computational power to handle complex workloads, requires cloud-based systems that can scale up and down with tasks as needed.

This is why IT industry companies like Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and others are spending so much time and resources on developing or acquiring innovative technologies that can scale instantaneously when customers need it. The most recent example is Microsoft’s acquisition of Avere Systems in January 2018. Avere Systems should help give Microsoft Azure a competitive advantage in high-performance storage–at least, that is the plan.

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Avere Systems

The acquisition announcement characterizes Avere Systems as a leading provider of high-performance network file systems (NFSes) and server message block (SMB) file-based storage for Linux and Windows clients running in cloud, hybrid, and on-premise environments. By combining file system and caching technologies, Avere’s solutions support customers requiring high-performance storage capacity to run large-scale computational workloads.

Apparently, Avere has made a name for itself in the media industry among the likes of Sony Pictures Imageworks, Illumination Mac Guff, and Moving Picture Company (MPC) by decreasing the time it takes to create animations and other special effects that require scalable high-capacity and high-performance storage and computational cloud-based services.

However–and this is the primary reason for Microsoft’s interest in Avere–those technological innovations that work so well for the media and entertainment industry can also work for computational-intensive tasks in other industries. Customers in life sciences, education, oil and gas, financial services, and manufacturing, just to name a few, are looking toward cloud-computing solutions to help transform the way they conduct business. This is an opportunity for Microsoft Azure that can’t be ignored.

SEE: Microsoft Azure: What IT and business leaders need to know (free TechRepublic PDF)

Bottom line

Azure, and the plethora of products and services that fall under its umbrella, is the key to Microsoft’s continued success. While the solutions currently offered under Azure have been successful in attracting customers and have made Microsoft very profitable, the competition is always closing the gap. Microsoft must continue to expand what Azure offers to its customers to stay ahead.

Microsoft has been acquiring innovative technologies in this way since its inception, a strategy that has proven to be successful most of the time. As recently as 2017, Microsoft shored up Azure services by acquiring Cloudyn and Cycle Computing, both of which added products and services that broadened the overall appeal of Azure solutions.

By acquiring the technologies of Avere Systems and incorporating them into Azure, Microsoft looks to keep what it perceives to be a competitive advantage over other cloud service vendors like Alphabet and Amazon. Acquiring technology is this manner is more expedient than developing it in-house and has been a winning business strategy for Microsoft. And that is not likely to change soon.

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