Skip to main content

Red Hat splashes the cash with Gluster buy

Open source giant Red Hat has confirmed its intentions to push forward into big iron with the purchase of Indian data specialist Gluster for $136 million in cash.

Bangaluru-based Gluster is a relative newcomer to the market, having been founded in 2005 by Anand Babu Periasamy and Hitesh Chellani. Its products, which combine open source software with off-the-shelf hardware, have proven popular with big data types including Samsung, streaming media service Pandora and distributed storage outfit Box.net.

Red Hat's investment of $132 million sees the company take total ownership of privately held Gluster, along with the assumption of unvested equity outstanding at the close of the deal later this month. Red Hat is also expected to issue certain equity retention incentives.

The heart of Gluster's offering, and Red Hat's key acquisition target, is GlusterFS. Designed as a purely software solution to the problem of scaling commodity storage hardware into a globally accessible pool measured in the petabyte range, it's a proven technology which will help Red Hat stem the flow of high-profile server customers moving to alternative platforms like Attachmate's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

"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," explained Red Hat's chief technical officer at the announcement of the deal. "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."

With the market for unstructured data storage expected to hit around $4 billion this year, it's a lucrative area for Red Hat to target. The company's existing server products are already popular, helping push the company into its current position of being possibly the largest open source outfit in the world, and the addition of Gluster's technologies will only help with that growth.

"We are extremely pleased to be joining Red Hat," Gluster co-founder Periasamy crowed. "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," he joked.

The deal is not expected to affect Red Hat's revenue for the current fiscal year, with the first growth related to the Gluster acquisition expected to show next year thanks to the company's recurring subscription revenue.