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Red Hat snaps a Ceph-ie: Upstart Inktank gobbled for $175m

Red Hat clutches Gluster in one arm, beckons Ceph with wad of cash

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Open-source slinger Red Hat has bulked up its cloud storage arsenal by buying Inktank, the main developer of Ceph for about $175m in cash.

The acquisition of Inktank was announced on Wednesday, and means the Linux distro maker will field two distributed storage systems in the form of Ceph (block and object) and GlusterFS (file).

Ceph is a distributed object store that gives developers good guarantees about their data (aka strong consistency). The software is frequently used as a storage system within OpenStack deployments rather than the cloud management system's eventually consistent Swift.

Inktank also develops a paid-for version called Ceph Enterprise, which has block storage and other capabilities. The company says its customers include CERN, Cisco and Deutsche Telekom.

A couple of months ago Inktank completed substantial work on making sure its Ceph storage and associated services worked well with Red Hat's virtualization and cloud OpenStack systems.

Now, the two companies are making their compatibility into something more. "With Red Hat's long history of successfully guiding open source communities for the benefit of all members, the Ceph community can feel confident in a continuation of the vibrant ecosystem Inktank has built well into the future," Red Hat wrote in an FAQ discussing the acquisition.

The biz gobble also highlights the effect the rise of cloud computing deployments is having on the IT world, as incumbent companies seek to garner influence over open-source systems that either threaten their business directly, or perhaps may drag developers away from projects they have an interest in.

With this acquisition, "Red Hat can offer its customers a very competitive alternative to traditional proprietary storage systems from companies like EMC," Red Hat wrote. "Red Hat will continue to invest, sell, support, and develop Ceph products under the Red Hat name while continuing to work with the community to innovate and drive the Ceph product roadmap. Over the next 1-2 years, Red Hat plans to develop product roadmaps from which Red Hat can derive a range of compatible storage offerings to address the demand for file, block, and object storage."

Red Hat expects the acquisition to close by May 2014. ®

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