Avere Systems Raises $14M in Series E Funding for Storage Solutions for Hybrid Clouds

Avere Systems recently announced the finalization of $14M in Series E funding. The Series E funding raise features a new investor, namely, Google Inc., and existing investors Menlo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Tenaya Capital and Western Digital Capital. Avere Systems specializes in storage products and solutions that optimize the performance of storage infrastructures for hybrid cloud environments by empowering customers to access stored files, whether they are stored in the cloud or on premise, without sacrifices to file availability or performance. In recognition of the need to manage, scale and optimize storage solutions for on-premise storage as well as cloud-based storage, Avere Systems delivers a portfolio of products and services that help ease enterprise adoption of cloud computing, with a specialization in the intersection of storage and hybrid cloud deployments. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, the company has raised a total of $97M to date.

The Series E funding raise is notable because of Google’s addition to Avere’s roster of investors as well as the continued support of Western Digital Capital, the venture capital firm associated with Western Digital. The ability of Avere Systems to garner high profile investors with deep investments in enterprise storage such as Google and Western Digital speaks to its success in gaining traction in the rapidly growing hybrid cloud space. That Avere Systems has been able to carve out a niche with respect to facilitating high performance access to data for computational and long-term storage purposes underscores the success of its strategy to serve the storage needs of organizations that leverage a plurality of on-premise and cloud-based infrastructures. The funding will be used to support product development and innovation for Avere System’s customers with a specific focus on expanding its portfolio of products for the hybrid cloud.

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Guest Blog Post: “The Art of the Cloud Wars” By Scott Jeschonek, Director of Cloud Solutions, Avere Systems

Editorial note: This article was authored by Scott Jeschonek, Director of Cloud Solutions, Avere Systems. The opinions expressed below are those of the author, Scott Jeschonek.

Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu once wrote that battles are won or lost before they are ever fought, but can the same be said for the cloud wars? Though many industry thought leaders have made projections, the future of how the battle between public cloud providers will unfold remains hazy. Despite projections that global IT spending will fall in 2016, investment in public cloud services is expected to grow 16% this year, fueling the fire of the on-going war. Most industry experts would agree that AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and IBM Cloud Services are the key players to watch, however many CIOs still struggle with determining which cloud service provider is right for them.

The table stakes for becoming the top public cloud provider are only getting higher with each passing quarter, and at the same time, the rise of a multi-cloud strategy is shaking things up. So, how will the cloud wars play out and how can enterprises that want to embrace the cloud choose the right CSP (or combination of CSPs) for their organizations?

When the technical features of the four hottest CSPs put them on relatively even playing field, it is the brand personalities and customer experience that can help organizations evaluate which cloud provider is most suitable for their needs. Below is a breakdown of how each CSP’s culture and decades-long experience with their respective specialties has influenced their approach to building and selling cloud offerings.

AWS

Launched officially in 2006, AWS is the oldest among the major CSPs and draws strongly from its foundations as an online marketplace to provide ease-of-use and a seamless on-demand experience. In the cloud wars landscape, AWS is like the U.S. military of the public cloud – bigger than all the others combined. AWS is very streamlined in how it offers its products, how they can be purchased and how fulfillment is handled. AWS’s ability to provide a user-friendly e-commerce experience isn’t a surprise, because, after all, AWS is Amazon. Just like you can buy a book or a suitcase from Amazon.com, you can buy compute time or storage. AWS also boasts sophisticated large-scale data base products, APIs and control structures, including AWS Lambda, which lets customers run code without provisioning or managing servers. Given Amazon’s core value of customer service, the rapid growth of AWS and its ease of use make sense.

Google Cloud Platform

While Google’s cloud offering is newer on the scene, its recent enterprise investment makes it one to watch. The company’s history of being forward-thinking and cutting edge is carried throughout its cloud platform value prop. At its NEXT conference in March, Google focused its keynotes on the sophistication of its technology, and how savvy developers could take advantage of Google Cloud Platform’s dynamic point-to-point networking, artificial intelligence and machine learning offerings. Google arguably has the most sophisticated developer cloud on the market, which makes sense as one of the large-scale inventors of web scale, or scale-out computing.

IBM

IBM, which combined its July 2013 acquisition of SoftLayer Technologies with its IBM SmartCloud to form the IBM Cloud Services Division, is building on its historical strength as a provider of consulting and computer services. Professional services and consulting is not necessarily top of mind for AWS or GCP, so IBM’s global cloud platform appeals to those customers looking for a stronger engagement model. Professional services is part and parcel to IBM, and it can combine its cloud offerings and consulting capabilities with other technologies such as Watson.

Azure

Rounding out the four, Microsoft’s Azure has a strong and steady history in the CSP market. Though it offers many of the same features as the other three “big guns,” it has stood out by intelligently leveraging its long-standing strength in the enterprise and bridging its existing enterprise capabilities with its newer cloud offerings. Customers can run other Microsoft software offerings such as Exchange, SQL Server or Active Directory both in the cloud or on premises. Microsoft also offers licensing incentives for existing enterprises customers as an option to help them embrace Azure.

If your organization is, for example, a next-generation application outfit and has been in the cloud from the get-go, then AWS or GCP will suit you just fine. If you’re generating an Internet-of-Things-based application with a mobile front end, for instance, that will run on Android and iOS and you’re storing a lot of data, any one of the four will handle the job admirably.

But here’s where it gets a little tricky: if you’re an enterprise customer with your own (or leased) data center(s) and Microsoft applications and backoffice applications processing lots of data (a bank, for example), it’s a much bigger proposition to move to the public cloud. This type of customer is currently a challenge for all four of the major CSPs. For organizations with a more traditional IT infrastructure, it’s not a matter of simply copying and pasting their applications and technology into the cloud and calling it a day.

A Demilitarized Zone: The Rise of the Multi-cloud Strategy

Partly in response to these complexities, we’ve seen the rise of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud architectures and approaches. Multicloud, in particular, has been an unexpected twist in enterprise cloud adoption. CSPs catalyzed enterprise cloud adoption by driving prices lower and enhancing the sophistication of their offerings, yet now this very same competitive dynamic is allowing businesses to choose different clouds for different workloads based on the strength of each CSP.

There’s also the age-old concern about having a single supplier and being subject to vendor lock-in. By adopting a multi-cloud approach, enterprises can avoid the “data gravity” problem: as data accumulates there is a greater likelihood that more and more additional services and applications will be attracted to this data. By keeping data in different clouds, enterprises can avoid arduous and difficult data migration while taking advantage of differing pricing structures among the CSPs.

In the end, yes, we’re going to see an intensification of the cloud wars among the four big public cloud providers – Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft – and that’s a good thing for enterprises moving to the cloud. This competition is at once driving down prices, increasing buyer options and inspiring innovations in IT architecture that will ultimately lead to more freedom of choice and the ability to purpose-build cloud environments for enterprises who are looking to the cloud(s).

Avere Systems Announces CloudFusion For Intelligent Storage Of Data On AWS Using NAS Infrastructure

This week, Avere Systems announced Avere CloudFusion, a scalable file storage application for Amazon Web Services. Avere CloudFusion’s proprietary analytics place the most frequently used, hot data on Amazon EC2 RAM while warm data is assigned to Amazon Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and cold data is assigned to Amazon S3 in order to most effectively leverage the economics of the public cloud. Avere Systems proprietary algorithms automate the assignment of datasets to hot, medium and cold storage tiers while updating those same designations in real-time in conjunction with changes in the pattern of data usage and retrieval. CloudFusion’s automated assignment of storage data to different storage infrastructures enables it to deliver storage-related cost reductions of up to 90% in comparison with competing NAS solutions for AWS. Meanwhile, its NAS technology renders available a plethora of use cases for AWS customers such as the storage of website data and the enablement of cloud computing featuring real-time, bi-directional reads and writes between EC2 and Avere CloudFusion’s NAS infrastructure. Notably, CloudFusion makes the economics of the public cloud even more palatable for customers with smaller datasets by means of CloudFusion’s Edge Filer technology for analytics and data pipelines between EC2 compute resources and S3 storage. As such, Avere CloudFusion gives Amazon Web Services customers the opportunity to take advantage of AWS cloud computing while enjoying the economies of scale typically associated with big data processing and storage.

Avere Systems Partners With Google Cloud Platform To Deliver Hybrid Clouds For Compute And Storage Intensive Workloads

On Monday, Avere Systems announced a partnership with Google that empowers customers to transfer large data sets and workloads to the Google Cloud Platform. The collaboration between Avere Systems and Google means that companies can now transfer data from NAS storage systems to the Google Cloud Platform to enjoy the benefits of the scalability and performance of the same infrastructure that powers Google search, Gmail and Google Drive. Avere FXT Edge Filers technology from Avere Systems allows customers to run storage and compute workloads both on premise and in the cloud, thereby creating a hybrid cloud infrastructure optimized for cloud bursting scenarios and compute-intensive workloads. Avere Physical FXT Edge Filers deliver NAS for on-premise, file-based applications whereas Virtual FXT Edge Filers provides a software solution that manages a high performance storage infrastructure within a cloud-based platform. The combination of Avere Physical and Virtual FXT Filers allows customers to deploy solutions on premise and in the cloud while delivering high performance and low latency for big data applications. Because of its ability to support compute-intensive workloads and massive storage requirements, Avere Edge Filer technology has enjoyed notable success within the media and entertainment industry as evinced by its usage by the visual effects studio Framestore. The ability of Avere Systems to support the massive computational and storage needs of digital media and entertainment-related use cases strongly positions Avere Systems to support the needs of organizations that need to create a compute and storage intensive hybrid cloud infrastructure in collaboration with Google Cloud Platform.