IBM swallows Red Hat storage products

Red hat logo on building
Red hat logo on building

IBM is deepening its assimilation of Red Hat by adopting two of its open source storage products and moving some Red Hat staff to IBM.

Red Hat is transferring its storage portfolio and associated teams – including Red Hat Ceph Storage, Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation (ODF), Rook, and NooBaa – to IBM. The foundation for Spectrum Fusion will become ODF. Customers will see no difference when buying software.

Denis Kennelly, IBM
Denis Kennelly

IBM storage GM Denis Kennelly said: “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.

“I believe this creates the most complete and powerful software-defined storage portfolio in the industry.“

Red Hat’s VP of hybrid platforms, Joe Fernandes, added: “With IBM Storage taking stewardship of Ceph, and OpenShift Data Foundation, IBM will help accelerate open-source storage innovation for Red Hat and IBM customers and expand the market opportunity beyond what each of us could deliver on our own.”

Red Hat’s ODF is a cloud-native storage, data management, and data protection combination based on Ceph, Noobaa, and Rook software components. Ceph provides object, block, and file storage. Noobaa, acquired by Red Hat in 2018, abstracts storage infrastructure across hybrid multi-cloud environments, and provides data storage service management.  Rook orchestrates multiple storage services, each with a Kubernetes operator, and can be used to set up a Ceph cluster. 

IBM Red Hat storage changes
Blocks & Files chart showing the changes

IBM’s storage software product line has an overall Spectrum brand. Examples are:

  • Spectrum Elastic Storage System (ESS) –software-defined storage for AI and big data
  • Spectrum Discover – file cataloging and indexing product
  • Spectrum Fusion – containerized derivative of Spectrum Scale plus Spectrum Protect data protection
  • Spectrum Protect – data protection
  • Spectrum Scale – scale-out, parallel file system software
  • Spectrum Virtualize – operating, management, and virtualization software for the Storwize and FlashSystem arrays and SAN Volume Controller
  • Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud (SVPC) – available for the IBM public cloud, AWS, and Azure

Ceph is not becoming Spectrum Ceph. Along with ODF, it will remain 100 percent open source. IBM said it will assume Premier Sponsorship of the Ceph Foundation, whose members collaborate on the Ceph open source project.

Overall, IBM says its clients will have access to a consistent set of hardware-agnostic storage services with data resilience, security, and governance across bare metal, virtualized, and containerized environments. 

They should get a unified storage experience for containerized apps running on Red Hat OpenShift. They can use Spectrum Fusion (now with Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation) to get performance, scale, automation, data protection, and data security for production applications running on OpenShift that require block, file, and/or object access to data. 

IBM says customers should be able to build in the cloud and then deploy on-premises with automation. They will be able to move developed applications from the cloud to on-premises services, automate the creation of staging environments to test deployment procedures, validate configuration changes, database schema and data updates, and ready package updates. 

Kennelly said: “From edge-to-core-to-cloud, software-defined storage is the answer you’ve been looking for, and it’s now here from IBM.” 

Transaction details

This move of software and staff (associates in IBM-speak), characterized by IBM as a partial and non-cash acquisition, should complete by January 1. From then on Red Hat OpenShift Platform Plus will continue to include OpenShift Data Foundation, and be sold by Red Hat and its partners. New Red Hat OpenStack customers will still be able to buy Red Hat Ceph Storage from Red Hat and its partners. Existing OpenShift and OpenStack subscription customers will see no change in their Red Hat relationship. 

IBM said forthcoming Ceph and Spectrum Fusion storage offerings based on Ceph are expected to ship from the first half of 2023.