Red Hat, Inc., a leading provider of open source software solutions, announced today that it will acquire Inktank, the developer of Ceph, a leading software-defined storage platform for object, file, and block storage that runs on off the shelf hardware. Inktank had secured several early adopter customers who have deployed their solution to run both public and private clouds including Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, as well as established a partnership with Dell to deliver the solution to a broader market.
The software-defined storage market is still a very nascent one, but it has quickly been gaining steam over the past two years. According to a recent IDC report, "Software-defined platforms will continue to grow faster than any other market segment in the file- and object-based storage market." To capitalize on this growth, Red Hat's acquisition of Inktank's Ceph platform is a perfect addition to their existing GlusterFS-based storage offering.
Inktank was founded only 2 years ago by Sage Weil, founder and CTO. Weil initially developed Ceph while at UC Santa Cruz and has built it out as a replacement for legacy storage systems to provide a unified solution for cloud computing environments. Since forming in 2012, Inktank has done an excellent job of developing the Ceph community and providing customers with expertise, processes, tools and support to build a viable cloud-scale solution.
The reward for building out this community? Having a leader in open source like Red Hat acquire them for approximately $175 million in cash. Not a bad payday for just having launched Inktank only two years back.
It is interesting to note that Sage Weil is also a co-founder of DreamHost, a webhosting company that competes with the likes of GoDaddy and Amazon. DreamHost is also listed as a customer on the Inktank home page. While the announcement does not speak towards Red Hat looking to enter the cloud provider market per se, the Ceph solution is definitely built to enable enterprises and service providers to build their own exabyte scale cloud deployments. At minimum, it puts Red Hat in a very good position to compete for this business.