Red Hat to acquire Ceph open-source storage provider Inktank

Ceph will remain an open, multiplatform storage project, Inktank said

Taking a step into the rapidly emerging market for software-defined storage, Red Hat has agreed to acquire Inktank, the company behind the Ceph open-source storage system, for approximately US$175 million in cash.

Inktank is the leading development organization behind Ceph, which runs on commodity hardware and delivers object, block, and file system storage.

Inktank's main product is Ceph Enterprise, an enterprise-grade Ceph storage system that is sold on a subscription basis, together with support and training. The idea is that companies can use these systems as an alternative to more expensive, proprietary storage systems, to decrease their storage costs, increase their operational flexibility and effectively manage their rapidly growing data.

Ceph Enterprise is used by companies deploying public and private clouds, including many early adopters of OpenStack clouds, the companies said. Inktank's customers include Cisco, Deutsche Telekom and CERN.

Red Hat wants to become the leading provider of open software-defined storage by adding Inktank's offerings to its own GlusterFS-based storage offering, Red Hat said.

"We believe that, as part of Red Hat, the Inktank team will be able to build a better quality Ceph storage platform that will benefit the entire ecosystem," wrote Inktank TCO Sage Weil in a blog post.

One important change that will take place is that Calamari, the proprietary monitoring and diagnostics tool that Inktank has developed as part of Ceph Enterprise, will be made available as open-source software, Weil said. This will be done because Red Hat favors a pure open-source model, he added.

Existing Inktank customers will get more value out of the new system because it will improve the ability to address problems at all layers of the storage stack, including in the kernel, Weil said.

Customers that don't use a Red Hat distribution will continue to receive support, Weil said, adding that the team remains committed to keeping Ceph an open, multiplatform project that works in any environment where it makes sense, including other Linux distributions and non-Linux operating systems.

"Red Hat is one of only a handful of companies that I trust to steward the Ceph project," Weil said.

The companies will make sure that bug fixes and improvements that go into Ceph-derived products are always shared with the community, Weil said.

The acquisition is expected to close in May.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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