Microsoft has announced plans to acquire Avere Systems, a hybrid cloud data storage company based in Pittsburgh. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008, Avere Systems helps enterprises blend on-premises and public cloud data storage, while offering a mix of software and hardware-based services. Though many companies have already gone all-in on the cloud, there are benefits to keeping some things “in-house” — it enables faster data-transfer speeds, for example, and it can offer greater peace of mind in terms of privacy. Adopting a hybrid approach allows some tasks to be managed on a company’s premises, while other tasks — particularly those that may require significant processing power — can be managed in the cloud.

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. But it’s perhaps safe to assume that once this acquisition is complete, Avere Systems will be switching entirely to Microsoft’s cloud service.

“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.”

In the clouds

Since taking over as Microsoft CEO in 2014, Satya Nadella has guided Microsoft’s push into the cloud. The “intelligent cloud platform” has been one of the company’s key investment areas, which perhaps should come as little surprise given that Nadella was formerly Microsoft’s head of cloud and enterprise group. Indeed, the company has made a number of cloud-focused acquisitions in recent times, and it revealed in October that its annualized revenue run rate for cloud services had passed $20 billion — a milestone it had predicted more than three years ago that it would reach by June 2018.

Besides its hybrid cloud offering, Avere Systems also serves Microsoft with access to a number of big-name companies across various industries, including Sony Pictures Imageworks, animation studio Mac Guff, the Library of Congress, John Hopkins University, and automatic test equipment (ATE) company Teradyne.

“Whether it’s building animations and special effects for the next blockbuster movie or discovering new treatments for life-threatening diseases, the need for high-performance storage and the flexibility to store and process data where it makes the most sense for the business is critically important,” added Zander.