Red Hat Unveils Open Source Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Offering

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Red Hat on Thursday jumped into the hyper-converged infrastructure market with the introduction of what it's calling the first open source hyper-converged infrastructure software stack.

The new stack, called Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure, combines four of the company's technologies into an integrated offering targeting cloud deployments, said Ross Turk, director of product marketing for the Raleigh, N.C.-based cloud and virtualization technology vendor.

The components include Red Hat Virtualization, the company's hypervisor based on open source KVM technology; Red Hat Gluster storage, a scale-out file system based on the GlusterFS project; the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL, operating system; and the Red Hat Ansible automation platform and deployment framework.

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"RHEL is a real differentiator for us, Turk told CRN. "This means the entire stack can be supported by a single vendor."  

The Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure software stack targets customers looking to simplify their data center infrastructures, he said.

"It's for customers who scale compute and storage separately in large data centers, but who often like to bring a server and storage stack into small or remote offices," he said. "Our goal is to make this as small a footprint as possible."

The development of Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure stems from a handful of large customers in the oil and gas, retail, government, and military verticals, and will be initially available only via direct channels to such customers, Turk said.

"The channel is a wider focus for us," he said. "But this is a new product. With new products like this, we generally focus on the top five direct customers, mainly those who ask for the product. We're going into general availability now. And when it becomes available to channel partners, it will already be ready and in the market."

Turk was unable to say when Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure would be available to channel partners.

Turk said Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure will compete in the same space as such vendors as Nutanix or SimpliVity, which was recently acquired by Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. However, he said, those vendors are targeting customers with a one-stop solution.

"Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure is for customers who already have a virtualized data center, but who want a smaller, more condensed version of the Red Hat stack that they are already using," Turk said.

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure can be deployed on customers' industry-standard servers, and Red Hat will initially launch with guidelines on suitable types of servers, Turk said. "As we gain more experience, we will offer reference architectures, and later may go with bundled solutions," he said.

Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure at a high level is a good idea, but a few years late, said one large Red Hat solution provider.

The solution provider, who declined to be identified because of a close relationship with Red Hat, told CRN the vendor could initially face a couple of issues in the rollout of Red Hat Hyperconverged Infrastructure.

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