Enterprise Linux Log

Oct 4 2011   1:50PM GMT

Red Hat acquires Gluster: The Red Hat of storage

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

Today, Red Hat announced the acquisition of Gluster, Inc., an open source storage solution provider specializing in the management of big data. Red Hat paid $136 million for the storage file system company, and hopes to bolster its presence in big data management and cloud data management with the purchase.

“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,” said Brian Stevens, CTO and vice president, Worldwide Engineering at Red Hat. “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.”

Gluster’s founder, Anand Babu Periasamy spun off the company in 2005 from the supercomputer company California Supercomputer Corp. with the objective to build a better file system. Speaking to its open source roots, the name Gluster is a combination of GNU and cluster. The file system was created around the concept that having a centralized metadata server lowers performance and limits scalability and should instead use the underlying file system on arrays and not store data in proprietary formats.

Gluster provides a software-based, scale-out file system that layers above Red Hat’s other file systems. It is distributed across multiple systems and aggregates the total storage into a single namespace. A Gluster cluster exposes this namespace as an NFS or CIFS mount point that contains every file in the cluster. The underlying storage becomes fully virtualized, and can be distributed into private and public clouds. GlusterFS can also be deployed on Amazon’s EC2 or inside of KVM virtual machines.

“We believe this is a perfect combination of technologies, strategies and cultures and is a great development for our customers, employees, investors and community,” said Periasamy. “Gluster started off with a goal to be the Red Hat of storage. Now, we are the storage of Red Hat.”

With the company’s acquisition, Red Hat also gains the over 2,000 contributors to Gluster.org. The Gluster team recently announced that it is planning to provide highly scalable storage for unstructured data, while preserving the interoperability benefits of NAS.

“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,” said Henry Baltazar, senior analyst of The 451 Group.

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