Purple patch

Red Hat expands cloudy arsenal with Inktank swoop

Lucy Carey

With acquisition of scale-out, open source storage system provider, Red Hat holds monopoly on big distributed file systems

Powers that be at open source storage vendor Red Hat can sleep soundly tonight, safe in the knowledge that, with today’s agreement to acquire Intank, they have yet another big distributed file system provider within their tentacles. Known for their signature tech Inktank Ceph and Ceph Enterprise, which delivers object and block storage within public and private clouds, the big cephalopod went under for a cool $175 million.

Now it’s in their pool, Inktank will combine forces with Red Hat’s existing GlusterFS-based storage offering to decisively position the company as the reigning big dog of open software-defined storage.

Although this constitutes a fairly beefy deal for the hatters, it’s still relatively small fry compared to their JBoss acquisition, which went for $420 million. Through the deal, Red Hat also gains Inktank’s not-inconsequential base of customers and partners, including Cisco, CERN and Deutsche Telekom and Dell and Alcatel-Lucent respectively.

On Inktank’s side,they’ll have the chance to grow their tech by utilising Red Hat’s roster of open source products will now be fully open for direct integration. As Red Hat’s Jeff Darcy observes, “Ceph and GlusterFS are allies in a common fight against common rivals.” As well as sharing the commonality of the classic file system API, both Ceph and GlusterFS have “tried to address object and block APIs.”

Whilst both technologies operated under an open source model, borrowing ideas could only go so far, and, as Darcy writes, it’s not as though they could have simply stacked one project’s management console on top of the other’s data path.

Now though, he says, “In each area, we have the chance to take two sets of ideas and either converge on the better one or merge the two to come up with something even better than either was before. I don’t know what the outcomes will be, or even what all of the pieces are that we’ll be looking at, but I do know that there are some very smart people joining the team I’m on.”

Sage Weil, founder and CTO, Inktank, was equally enthusiastic, stating that,”With a shared commitment to open source, open standards and customer success”  joining forces with Red Hat is something that  excites his whole team.

He commented,” Joining Red Hat…will ultimately serve the industry well and answer the demand for open storage solutions fully integrated with existing and emerging data center architectures such as OpenStack.”

Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO, Red Hat, affirmed that the company would continue to support and nurture the “vibrant” community that has grown up around Inktank as they work together “to make open the de facto choice for software-defined storage.”

Stevens added that, “Inktank has done a brilliant job assembling a strong ecosystem around Ceph and we look forward to expanding on this success together. The strength of these world-class open storage technologies will offer compelling capability as customers move to software-based scale-out storage systems.”
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