M&A: Inktank acquired by Red Hat

I am happy for Sage and team, this is a good exit.

Obviously we didn’t know this was happening, but I guessed something like this a few weeks ago.

Bigger picture: Open source technologies have been capturing mindshare from closed source object, file, and block for a while. This will serve to massively amplify this. GlusterFS was niche until Red Hat bought it. Then it went mainstream. Ceph isn’t GlusterFS though. We wouldn’t deploy new GlusterFS systems these days, but we would and do deploy new Ceph based systems.

This acquisition is both good and bad for the day job. Good in that it will provide more resources behind the project. Bad, because, as with the Red Hat marketing of GlusterFS, and to a degree the marketing of all of the pure software based solutions, there is a perception that is encouraged that you just add “cheap hardware.” Not good hardware, not efficient hardware, but cheap hardware.

If you didn’t see my grouse on cheap network switches, you should go back and re-read.

Crappy hardware design makes for inefficient and poorly scaling infrastructure. You can mask this by building out massive systems, that hide the fact that they are horrifically inefficient by their sheer size. Who cares if each node can only drive 100 MB/s if I have 3000 nodes. Right? Then we are fast. Right?

Wrong. Completely, utterly, amazingly wrong.

See the next post for my commentary on this.

Getting back the to this acquisition, it is a good thing for Ceph, for Inktank, and for Red Hat. Hopefully Red Hat won’t do what they did with CentOS (but that acquisition was purely defensive, in order to head off OEL). As a reminder, what Red Hat effectively did was to eliminate any vendor shipping for commercial purposes, a CentOS based system, and also to mandate that you could call something CentOS if and only if it were a bit level exact copy of CentOS. Which, curiously, completely defeated the purpose of CentOS in the process.

I hope Red Hat doesn’t do that to Ceph. We’ll see what happens, but I am hopeful that they will handle it better than what they did with CentOS.

We will continue to build Ceph appliances, and grow this market. We’ll work on incorporating some of our IP into a platform that can tie into Ceph (we’d thought of doing this before with GlusterFS, but there are simply too many issues with it to consider doing that at this point).

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