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Red Hat Rebrands, Reconfigures Virtual Storage Appliance For Amazon AWS

Less than four months after its acquisition by Red Hat, Gluster, now known as the Red Hat storage unit, is announcing new storage products. The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance for Amazon Web Services (AWS), announced this week, is essentially a rebranding of the Gluster product, or what the company refers to as "baselined." This means that it now uses the Red Hat Linux open-source operating system rather than the CentOS operating system it had used previously, and it has also been retested and re-certified. In addition, it now supports a new file system option, the Extensible File System (XFS).

"Net-net, this is an example of the continuing evolution of storage from a hardware offering to a software offering, creating a flexible environment that can be spun up in minutes rather than days or weeks and months," says Terri McClure, senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group. "It is inevitable that storage follow in the footsteps of servers and become a software play. We can't have a virtual, software-based server world attached to a hardware-bound storage world. That is what we find compelling about Red Hat's Storage Virtual Appliance: You can deploy it on commodity hardware or in the cloud, and be up and running with a standards-based interface. Your storage environment can become as flexible and fast to provision as your server environment."

The Red Hat Virtual Storage Appliance helps make AWS more acceptable to enterprises by giving organizations the capability to move applications compliant with the Portable Operating Systems Interface (POSIX) specification to the Amazon cloud service without any modification, says the Linux and open-source vendor. Previously, users had to modify their applications to use Amazon's object store S3, it says. Red Hat believes enterprises have been looking at ways to increase their compute capacity and storage capacity in the data center, yet at the same time be able to minimize their costs and go faster. Buying more servers and storage is not a cost-friendly option, but using enterprise cloud storage systems such as Amazon's means that users can deploy in the Amazon cloud, pay for what they're using and then shut it down, with the result that the funding is shifted from a capital expense to an operational expense, it says.

Ironically, Amazon just reached out to the Windows community four weeks ago, offering free developer time for several Windows Server editions to build, migrate, test and deploy Web applications on AWS in minutes. This option was previously available only to Linux server users.

Gluster, a company that once aspired to be the Red Hat of storage, formed the core of a storage unit created around the acquisition and headed by both Gluster and Red Hat staff. When the deal was announced it had about 150 commercial customers and up to 20,000 downloads a month for open-source community users.

Since its acquisition by Red Hat in October 2011, Gluster has been working on integrating its storage products into the other Red Hat units, such as the JBoss business unit and the cloud business unit. Storage that is low-cost, portable and flexible allows Red Hat to meet more of the needs that an organization has, says the company. For the rest of the year, announcements will be coming out about integration, it says.

The Virtual Storage Appliance for Amazon Web Services costs $7,500 per node; a minimum of two nodes are required and the product is available now. Deployments typically start at 250 Tbytes and increase in 250-Tbyte increments as appliances are added. The cost of storage is paid to Amazon at typical S3 rates, and is not included in the purchase price of the appliance. By using multiple appliances, the product can support multiple petabytes, the company says.

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