IBM adds Red Hat Storage to bolster hybrid cloud efforts

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Big Blue will make Red Hat Storage its own, and promises to keep ODF, Ceph and others 100% open source

IBM announced on Wednesday plans to integrate Red Hat’s storage products and associate teams into IBM’s Storage business unit. The goal, said IBM, is to bring consistent application and data storage across on-premises infrastructure and cloud deployments.

“Our clients are rapidly embracing a hybrid cloud strategy, and one of the key lynchpins of a successful hybrid cloud deployment is uniform access to data,” said Denis Kennelly, IBM storage GM. “By bringing together the teams and integrating our products under one roof, we are accelerating the IBM’s hybrid cloud storage strategy while maintaining commitments to Red Hat customers and the open-source community.”

IBM acquired Red Hat in 2018 for $34 billion. After closing the deal the following year, IBM has made Red Hat’s OpenShift containerization software products the centerpiece of its hybrid cloud strategy. This latest move puts a number of Red Hat storage products under the aegis of IBM Storage from here on out. 

OpenShift Data Foundation (ODF) will serve as the foundation for IBM Spectrum Fusion container-native storage for OpenShift deployments. IBM will also offer new Ceph solutions, it said. Ceph is Red Hat’s cloud infrastructure and web-scale object storage platform. Rook, the open-source file, block and object storage tool for cloud deployments, and NooBaa, Red Hat’s software-defined data storage platform, also find new homes at IBM Storage.

The move will provide IBM Storage customers with a single data lake house and platform to support AI/ML workloads, High-Performance Computing (HPC) and other tasks that require aggregation and inference using unstructured, according to the company.

“Benefits can include less time and effort to administer, reduced data movement and redundancy, direct access to data for analytics tools, advanced schema management and data governance, all supported by distributed file and object storage engineered to be cost-effective,” said IBM.

The company also sees a benefit to customers looking to gain efficiency through automation, from staging environments to deployment, validating configuration changes, database schema and data updates and package updates.

“Red Hat Ceph Storage is tightly integrated with Red Hat OpenStack Platform, and it’s at the core of OpenShift Data Foundation, with many clients today running Rook as the Ceph operator. Ceph runs securely anywhere OpenShift runs on-premises and in the cloud, simplifying operations with tremendous scale and speeding time to market for application developers,” explained Kennelly

Kennelly spelled out in simple terms what the announcement means for IBM Storage’s clients. “Today’s news means faster hybrid, multi-cloud deployments, with greater simplicity and expanded platform support backed by IBM’s global sales and lifecycle services. IBM will continue Red Hat’s commitment to existing customers and the open-source community, and we are accelerating our roadmap with new products and services to be announced in the coming months,” he said.

IBM said it will assume sponsorship of the Ceph Foundation, and will maintain Ceph and OpenShift Data Foundation as “100% open source,” continuing to follow an upstream-first model. The transition is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2023. IBM anticipates new Ceph and Spectrum Fusion storage solution to begin shipping in the first half of 2023.

The arrangement underscores IBM’s emphasis on hybrid cloud, which accounted for more than a third of the company’s total revenue.

“Hybrid cloud is about offering clients a platform that can straddle multiple public clouds, private clouds, and on-premise properties, all the way to the edge,” said IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna during a quarterly call with analysts. Krishna counted more than 4,000 hybrid cloud platform clients, with more than 250 added this past quarter.

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