Red Hat is busy making acquisitions so it can become the Red Hat of the cloud with OpenStack

Having taken a substantial chunk of the enterprise desktop and server market with its branded version of Linux software, Red Hat now has its eye on the cloud business, and the primary engine behind its efforts is OpenStack — the open-source standard that wants to become a kind of Linux for the cloud. At Gigaom’s Structure conference in San Francisco, chief technology officer Brian Stevens talked about how the company is trying to apply the Red Hat model to this new business, and one of the ways it is doing so is through acquisitions.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it is acquiring eNovance — a French company that specializes in OpenStack deployment and training — for $95 million, and it also recently spent $175 million to acquire Inktank, the company behind the popular Ceph file-and-object store technology.

Stevens said that Red Hat only averages about one acquisition a year, but it chose to do these two deals because they both were such a good fit for its OpenStack expansion. In particular, the Red Hat CTO said that eNovance would help with getting new customers on board, because while everyone wants to talk about OpenStack, “the skills to deliver it are lacking, generally” among many software providers. “I haven’t met a customer yet who doesn’t want to talk about OpenStack,” he said.

The challenge for Red Hat now, he said, is to try and merge all of its various efforts around OpenStack seamlessly, since to some extent new acquisitions like Inktank overlap with its existing internal efforts like Gluster, which is a distributed-filesystem technology.

Photo by Jakub Mosur

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