Red Hat's $175M Inktank Buy Expands Open Source Storage Reach With Ceph


"Back in the day, we used to say all of Sun's wood was behind a single arrowhead," Brodkin said. "Red Hat has taken that stance. It's sometimes slow to change, but with all its moves in the last 18 months, it's been doing everything right. There's tremendous interest in what Red Hat is doing."

Brian Stevens, executive vice president and CTO of Red Hat, told CRN on Wednesday that software-defined storage technologies that provide storage functionality on commodity hardware is still in the early stage of development, and that his company is moving in this direction with its open source storage technologies.

The fact that the free open source GlusterFS technology is more popular in terms of users than the Red Hat version is not an issue, Stevens said.

"As we invest in open source communities, it's important to get users as interested as much as developers," he said. "We want to get the technology out to millions, and monetize hundreds of thousands."

It is the same with Ceph, which has a massive community of users, Stevens said.

"We couldn't be happier to have a broader play in software-defined storage with both GlusterFS and Ceph," he said. "Otherwise, there's only one answer to every type of workload. But customers are hosting virtual machines, big data, Swift-compatible interfaces for OpenStack and more. Now we're able to go to a customer, look at their use cases, and find the right technology to solve their problems."

Weil on Wednesday told CRN that Inktank agreed to be acquired by Red Hat because that company is one of the few acquirers that understand open source and open source communities. "It's a good exit for us," he said.

Red Hat brings new resources to accelerate the development of Ceph as well as to bring it to a global market through the reach of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux platform, Weil said.

Weil said he still doesn't know what his new title at Red Hat will be. "But I'll definitely be a part of Red Hat," he said. "My general commitment is to make Ceph a ubiquitous open storage platform."

PUBLISHED APRIL 30, 2014