Red Hat, the world's most financially successful Linux software and services company, made a bold move into the storage software business Oct. 4 with the acquisition of Gluster, whose open-source storage file system for unstructured data runs a growing number of new-generation IT companies.
The transaction will cost Red Hat about $136 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in October.
The newest version of the virtual appliance-type file system for data storage enables access to the same data as both an object and as a file-a huge perk for storage managers.
The software comes in several deployment versions: for on-premises installation, virtual machines, and for public and private cloud environments. Gluster, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., positions this as the first "true unified file and object data storage software."
"Enterprises and service providers have struggled to manage their rapidly expanding unstructured data stores with conventional storage systems," said Henry Baltazar, senior analyst of The 451 Group. "The scale-out storage technology and expertise Red Hat is gaining from the acquisition of Gluster will serve as a powerful foundation for future public, private and hybrid storage clouds."
GlusterFS 3.3 allows users to access data as objects from an Amazon S3-compatible interface and access files from a Network Attached Storage (NAS) interface, including Network File System (NFS) and Common Internet File System (CIFS).
For infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers, GlusterFS 3.3 enables organizations to build their own Amazon-like storage offerings for their customers. Companies can use GlusterFS to accelerate the process of preparing applications for the cloud, simplify new application development for cloud computing environments, and back up data center unified files and objects to Amazon Web Services (AWS) or to a private cloud.
Gluster customers currently include Pandora, Box.net and Samsung.
The acquisition is expected to have no material impact to Red Hat's revenue this fiscal year but should begin to grow next year based on a subscription revenue model, the company said.
What an Industry Insider Has to Say
"This acquisition is further proof of the prevalence of open source in the enterprise IT stack, and shows that open source is clearly taking the lead when it comes to Big Data management," Yves de Montcheuil, vice-president of marketing at French open source data integration toolmaker Talend, told eWEEK via email.
"After all, Hadoop, the leading Big Data solution, is foremost an open source project. With Gluster, Red Hat invests in a lesser-known technology but one that clearly complements their middleware stack.
"Open source is also the foundation on which cloud infrastructure is being deployed, and Gluster's scaling out capabilities make it possible to support seamlessly hybrid environments. Talend will be looking forward to seeing Gluster take off under Red Hat's wing, and of course leveraging it as we already leverage a large number of data management technologies."