Red Hat, provider of open source enterprise software solutions, announced Tuesday that it had reached a deal to acquire the online storage company Gluster for $136 million. Gluster was founded in 2005 with the objective of leveraging open source software and commodity hardware to provide enterprise customers with public and private cloud based storage solutions. Gluster FS constitutes the core of Gluster's offering in the form of a distributed file system that can scale to thousands of client terminals and petabytes of storage. Gluster competes with Sun Microsystem's open source Lustre file system and IBM's General Parallel File System. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, the company currently has over 100 enterprise customers including Box.net, the personalized internet radio service Pandora and Deutsche Bank AG.
Red Hat's acquisition of Gluster means that the commercial Linux distributor enters the $4 billion market for unstructured data storage. More importantly, the deal gives Red Hat the opportunity to define baseline standards for enterprise level management of unstructured data such as emails, log files and documents. Speaking of Red Hat's motivations for the acquisition, Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens remarked:
The explosion of big data and the new paradigm of cloud computing are converging, forcing IT to re-think storage investments that are cost-effective, manageable and scale for the future. Our customers are looking for software-based storage solutions that manage their file-based data on-premise, in the cloud and bridging between the two.
With unstructured data growth (such as log files, virtual machines, email, audio, video and documents), the 90's paradigm of forcing everything into expensive, single-system DBMS residing on an internal corporate SAN has become unwieldy and impractical.
Stevens indicates how the proliferation of unstructured data at the enterprise level renders cloud based solutions increasingly attractive and viable. Whereas Red Hat excels with open source open source operating systems, virtualization and cloud computing platforms such as CloudForms and OpenShift, its acquisition of Gluster fills a critical infrastructure need involving the management of on premise data in the cloud.
Gluster founder and CTO Anand Babu Periasamy commented on the synergies of the acquisition by noting: "We believe this is a perfect combination of technologies, strategies and cultures and is a great development for our customers, employees, investors and community. Gluster started off with a goal to be the Red Hat of storage. Now, we are the storage of Red Hat." Red Hat acquired Gluster for $136 million in cash. As part of the acquisition, Red Hat will assume ownership of unvested Gluster equity and offer equity retention incentives to Gluster's employees.