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Red Hat to acquire Ceph storage platform developer Inktank

30 Apr 2014
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Red Hat is continuing its strategic buy-up of key open-source technologies with the acquisition of Inktank, developer of the Ceph distributed storage platform widely used in OpenStack cloud deployments.

The firm, best known for its Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution, said that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Inktank for approximately $175m. The transaction is expected to close in May, subject to customary closing conditions.

Red Hat said that when combined with Red Hat's existing Storage Server offering, the addition of Inktank will position it as the leading provider of software-defined storage across object, block and file system storage, and will enable it to offer customers a competitive alternative to traditional storage products.

Welcoming the move, Red Hat chief technology officer Brian Stevens said that Inktank has done a good job in assembling a strong ecosystem around Ceph and that Red Hat would expand on this.

"The strength of these world-class open storage technologies will offer compelling capability as customers move to software-based scale-out storage systems," he said.

Inktank was founded in 2012 to spearhead the development and drive the widespread adoption of Ceph, a scalable distributed storage system that runs on commodity x86 server hardware and delivers block, object and Posix-compliant file systems.

As an open source project, Ceph is widely used in OpenStack cloud deployments and also integrated into Linux distributions such as Ubuntu.

The acquisition is just one in a long line of similar moves for Red Hat, which snapped up Gluster in 2011 to gain the technology for its existing Red Hat Storage Server, and ManageIQ in 2013 to gain the technology for its CloudForms management platform.

Red Hat said that the two technologies complement each other because Ceph has a more mature block interface and better OpenStack integration, while Gluster has a more mature file system interface and traditional web storage integration.

As with its other acquisitions, Red Hat plans to integrate Inktank's products with other Red Hat solutions and offer them under a subscription-based support model.

Inktank founder and chief technology officer Sage Weil said that Red Hat is one of only a handful of companies that he trusts to steward the Ceph project, because of its commitment to open source.

"Red Hat favours a pure open source model. That means that Calamari, the monitoring and diagnostics tool that Inktank has developed as part of the Inktank Ceph Enterprise product, will soon be open sourced," he wrote in a posting on the Ceph blog.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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