Planning for data explosion, Red Hat acquires Gluster
“Analysts expect that 80% of all data growth is going to be unstructured data,” Ranga Rangachari, general manager of storage at Red Hat, said.
In anticipation of this obstacle for those who store and work with data, Red Hat, an open-source software provider, finalized its acquisition of Gluster for $136 million last week. Gluster provides open-source data storage software and specializes in storage of Big Data on public and private clouds.
Many people define Big Data differently, but the term includes huge data sets made up of digitized data from the past combined with data being recorded at a rapid rate due to new technology. The term also involves unstructured data — data that is irregular from set to set, making it difficult to work with, especially when it’s stored in different locations such as in a cloud or on a hard drive.
Among Red Hat’s customers are large health care organizations like Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Mass. With the acquisition, Red Hat added Gluster’s health care customers including the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, also located in Boston.
“Here so far, if you look at where Red Hat has been, we really didn’t have a strong play in the management of unstructured data. And what the Gluster acquisition does is bring that to the forefront,” Rangachari said. Gluster has a track record of working with companies that have unstructured data needs. Pandora, a Gluster customer, is a classic case, as its media must be stored in twelve different formats in order to work on multiple platforms.
Though Pandora deals with media, health care organizations can relate to the company’s storage needs. Medical facilities are looking to digitize certain types of data for the first time. Not only are medical records being moved onto computers, but patient media files such as X-rays are being archived as well.
Rangachari said he thinks health care will turn to open-source software for its future data storage requirements because hardware is too confining in this age of data explosion. Gluster allows for scale-out storage, which prepares organizations for unexpected data storage needs. “What scale-out storage allows you to do is continue to add seamlessly at the back end without having to rip things apart,” Rangachari said. Gluster software is also POSIX compliant, and this allows customers easily move existing data from an on premise location to a cloud without rewriting applications.
“The Gluster acquisition really helps us bring to the market a pretty powerful solution that helps end users really manage unstructured data regardless of where it’s located,” Rangachari said. The acquisition isn’t expected to have an impact on Red Hat’s revenue this fiscal year, but the company plans for revenue to grow next year based on a subscription model.