Red Hat buys Gluster for scale-out storage

Red Hat (s RHT) is buying Gluster and its open-source storage know-how. The acquisition will give Red Hat a strong play in the scale-out file system space as it steps up competition against incumbent IT vendors to host the next generation of enterprise applications.

In a statement, Red Hat CTO and VP of worldwide engineering Brian Stevens said:

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.

This $136 million cash deal is just the latest instance of a big vendor buying its way into the hot scale-out storage market. Last year, for example, storage power EMC bought Isilon (s emc) for its scale-out expertise. Before that, Hewlett-Packard bought Ibrix (s hpq). IBM’s (s IBM) purchase of Storwize and Overland Storage’s acquisition Maxiscale were all part of this cloud-inflected, scale-out storage land grab, too.

In the pricier, traditional scale-up model, lots of new nodes are piled up behind a few big, pricey controller servers. In scale-out storage, companies can add more inexpensive commodity server nodes horizontally, and such additions tend to be relatively easy and inexpensive.

Red Hat said it will continue to sell and support Gluster’s existing products, and it will also incorporate Gluster technology into other Red Hat solutions. It will sell Gluster’s services via Red Hat’s usual subscription model. Sunnyvale, Calif.–based Gluster claims 150 customers, including streaming music pioneer Pandora.