M&A continues … Xyratex bought by Seagate

The story is in the Register. An immediate question, and one of somewhat deja vu (all over again) … what is the impact upon Lustre IP?

Xyratex had announced that it obtained ownership of the Lustre IP from Oracle a few months ago. This IP was in the form of trademarks, and a number of related bits.

Now Xyratex has been bought. And if it keeps the Lustre HPC bits, it will be directly competing with its customers. And more to the point, there are a fair number of folks out there (Cray, et al.) whom have a built in dependence upon Xyratex storage systems. This is not a great development for them, but mebbe they can talk to other independent suppliers … (not that I am dropping a hint … nosiree … not at all). 😀

The take in the article is that Seagate will keep that aspect of business for now, and possibly spin it out later. They are planning on running that aspect as a stand alone business unit. Seagate apparently wanted the testing equipment portion of the business. Lustre and the storage side isn’t strategic to Seagate. Which has some obvious implications.

And yes, again, this sucks for Lustre IP, but far less so than before. Lustre’s future is (technologically it is secure, even if the IP status is in question) in the form of multiple vendors pushing hard on it, and an open source model. Whamcloud is leading most of the development at this time.

At this point, I think it actually really makes sense for the community as a whole to fork Lustre, rename it OpenSFS, remove all the branding IP, and make it GPL/MIT/BSD licensed. Have OpenSFS own the copyrights/IP, have vendors sign up to support it. Sort of like the Linux foundation. And what CentOS does with RedHat.

All this said, this is not the last M&A I expect … rather, I do expect strong HPC storage and computing vendors to be gobbled up soon as companies continue to gird for big data pushes, as well as growing into traditional HPC storage.

More as I hear about this … If Kevin or any of the Xyratex team read this and can comment, I’d love to hear the real story of plans if you can tell them. Happy to write about it.

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