IBM Taps Into Red Hat for Storage Unit

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ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM is tapping deeper into the data storage expertise of its subsidiary Red Hat.

IBM plans to incorporate Red Hat storage product road maps into the IBM storage business unit and bring in Red Hat associate teams to work on IBM storage, according to IBM this month. 

This shift is intended to grow IBM’s containerization stance, specifically with Kubernetes environments, by integrating the Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation and IBM Spectrum Fusion container storage technologies. IBM plans to use Red Hat OpenShift Data Foundation technologies for IBM Spectrum Fusion, its container-native storage platform.

Learn more about top containerization trends in the current technology landscape.

IBM plans to offer Red Hat Ceph Storage solutions that will provide customers with a unified software-defined storage (SDS) solution, improving IBM’s hybrid cloud offerings. IBM’s SDS solution provides features like disaster recovery (DR) and auto-scaling that are available for data, whether it’s stored in the cloud or in an on-premises solution. With a software-defined storage infrastructure, IBM also plans to use one data lakehouse for customers’ unstructured data. Spectrum Scale is intended to support highly data-intensive applications, like machine learning (ML) and high-performance computing

Additionally, IBM plans to offer application deployment for on-premises environments: once a customer has developed their application, they’re able to shift it from a cloud environment to run on-premises. Customers will also be able to automate staging environments for their applications to test them before deploying. Companies that want to develop their software in the cloud but also need the flexibility to run it on-premises could to benefit from IBM and Red Hat’s storage integration. 

The companies plan to complete the transition byJanuary 1, 2023. Red Hat OpenShift and OpenStack customers will have no change in their relationship with Red Hat as a storage vendor, according to IBM. Red Hat Ceph and OpenShift Data Foundation will continue to be open-source endeavors. IBM is also prioritizing participation of the Red Hat Ceph leadership team. 



Open-source is important in storage technology, because it improves innovation and collaboration. Incorporating Red Hat more thoroughly into IBM’s storage business unit allows IBM to benefit more directly from Red Hat’s open-source approach to software-defined technology.  

As the companies make this move in storage, the teams may contend with different cultures: IBM’s company culture is traditionally a hierarchical one, while Red Hat has embraced an open culture beyond just open- source software development, according to TechRepublic. 

Partnership is a clear win for customers

Red Hat and IBM have been “working closely for many years,” and the transition “enhances our partnership and streamlines our portfolios,” said Denis Kennelly, general manager of IBM storage, IBM systems.

“By bringing together the teams and integrating our products under one roof, we are accelerating IBM’s hybrid cloud storage strategy while maintaining commitments to Red Hat customers and the open-source community,” Kennelly said.

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

“We believe this is a clear win for customers who can gain a more comprehensive platform with new hybrid cloud-native storage capabilities,” Fernandes said.

IBM storage activity 

Over the last year, the IBM storage unit improved a hardware storage line and earned an industry honor.

In early 2022, FlashSystem, the all-flash arrays offered by IBM, added new data resilience features, like snapshot monitoring, for improved cyberattack recovery. 

And in October 2021, IBM was named a leader in the 2021 Gartner “Magic Quadrant” for primary storage. 

Growth of the software-defined storage market

The software-defined storage market to is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8% over the forecast period of 2022-2027, according to Mordor Intelligence. 

The global SDS market is estimated to reach $46.87 billion by 2027, according to Market Insight Reports. The current market valuation is $9.4 billion.

Other key players in the SDS market include HPE, NetApp, and VMware. 

To learn more about IBM’s growth, read about the recent IBM and Red Hat partnership with Celonis to grow data intelligence for Red Hat OpenShift while running on AWS.

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a staff writer for Enterprise Storage Forum and eSecurity Planet, where she covers data storage, cybersecurity and the top software and hardware solutions in the storage industry. She’s also written about containerization and data management. Previously, she wrote for Webopedia. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in writing and lives in middle Tennessee.

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