Red Hat is adding an appliance option for its open source storage software. This week the company launched Storage One, a turnkey option jointly engineered with server hardware vendors.
Supermicro is the first server hardware partner participating in the Red Hat Storage One program. Red Hat will first sell Gluster Storage on the appliances, but may add appliances with Ceph, hyper-converged infrastructure or other types of storage software.
The North Carolina-based Red Hat sells commercially supported distributions of open source software, including the Gluster distributed file system and Ceph block, file and object storage. Red Hat Storage One gives customers the option to purchase storage software, hardware and support at one price through a single SKU, in the same way they may have purchased traditional storage.
Irshad Raihan, Red Hat's senior manager of storage product marketing, said the vendor is talking to other possible hardware partners for Storage One. He noted that Red Hat has long offered reference architectures and worked with partners in co-engineering scenarios, where each vendor works in the other's lab. Red Hat and its partners sometimes meet at the customer's site as well. But until Red Hat Storage One, no partner has fulfilled orders directly through a single SKU, preloaded the bits, tuned the system and provided support.
The initial prepackaged Red Hat Gluster Storage appliances target media content repositories and general-purpose NAS workloads. Raihan said Red Hat is starting with use cases where it has seen considerable traction, views the deployments as highly repeatable and envisions orders can be fulfilled by the channel.
Customers can purchase the initial Red Hat Storage One offering from Supermicro and its resellers. Red Hat Storage One is available in configurations of four to 24 nodes. The all-in-one pricing model includes advanced storage services designed to help customers scale out their environments. Red Hat Ansible Automation tool is integrated to ease the setup of clustered deployments.
Supermicro will provide level 1 and level 2 support for the initial Red Hat Storage One appliances, including the initial call and in-depth technical assistance. Red Hat will supply level 3 support, which generally consists of bug fixes. Because customers have a subscription to Red Hat Gluster Storage as part of the bundle, they also have the option to call Red Hat directly, according to Raihan.
Software-defined storage model
Software-defined storage gives customers the freedom to install the product on any commodity server hardware they choose to buy. But Enterprise Strategy Group research has shown organizations prefer buying the software-defined storage packaged with hardware, according to Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy.
"It just expedites deployment. It eases decision-making. Organizations don't have to worry about the best configuration. They won't have to buy things separately. They don't have to spend time deploying the software on the hardware itself. And it just makes things a lot simpler," Sinclair said.
Raihan said about half of Red Hat's storage customers are split evenly between those who prefer to buy their own hardware and those who want the software packaged with server hardware. He said organizations using OpenStack or containers tend to be more open to the do-it-yourself approach, and may want to put together the pieces themselves. Users with workloads such as backup, archives and large home directories typically want a "plug-and-play experience," Raihan said.
"There are some customers that frankly just don't have the skill sets to be able to put all of this together," Raihan said.
He said Red Hat Storage One's benefits include the elimination of vendor lock-in, lower costs and greater flexibility to scale.