"Gluster changed the storage market the way Linux changed the operating system market," Charlie Peter, Red Hat's CFO, said during the webcast. However, he also said that he doesn't expect Red Hat to turn a profit on subscriptions of Gluster through the rest of this fiscal year and perhaps not next year either. As a private company, Gluster's current profitability isn't known.
Interestingly, just two months ago Gluster made a big contribution to OpenStack, an open source cloud platform that competes with Red Hat's own cloud initiatives. A few weeks earlier, Red Hat made waves in the open source community when one of its executives threw punches at OpenStack's community while announcing the company's own cloud management software, Aeolus, for use with Red Hat's Deltacloud.
At that time, Red Hat's general manager of cloud computing, Scott Crenshaw, was quoted as saying, "There's the OpenStack project that has a lot of people signing up, but when you talk to the people, the vast majority is the press release; a lot of people are keeping their options open."
Fast forward to July when Gluster contributed its Connector for OpenStack. It links GlusterFS to the OpenStack hypervisor, enabling OpenStack features such as live migration of VMs, instant boot of VMs, and movement of VMs between clouds on a GlusterFS environment. Important stuff.
When Gluster announced its connector, community manager John Mark Walker had a different take on OpenStack's progress and importance. He wrote, "The Gluster Connector for OpenStack is a triumph of community. Watching OpenStack grow as quickly as it has, changing the industry as it has, is breathtaking to watch. To be able to participate in that community and move it that much more forward is a privilege that we don't take for granted."
This is not to say that Red Hat is spending $136 million just to quash Gluster's OpenStack contribution. In fact, it could mark the entry of collaboration between Red Hat and OpenStack, which is generally still considered to be Rackspace's baby, based on technology created and contributed by NASA.
Red Hat told Network World, "Red Hat is going to continue the involvement with OpenStack around the Gluster technologies. Fedora is also actively packaging OpenStack in Fedora 16." The community-supported Fedora distro is widely regarded as the cutting-edge, experimental version of Red Hat Linux where new technologies are adopted before being integrated into the long-term stable RHEL versions.
Speaking of long-term stable versions, Gluster's Periasamy says the company's products are supported by RHEL 5 and 6, and a beta of a version that supports 6.1 is due out shortly.
Periasamy perhaps summed up this acquisition best: "Gluster started off with a goal to be the Red Hat of storage. Now, we are the storage of Red Hat."
Julie Bort is the editor of Network World's Microsoft Subnet and Open Source Subnet communities. She writes the Microsoft Update and Source Seeker blogs. Follow Bort on Twitter @Julie188.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.