While Red Hat has been in the middleware business with JBoss for some time, it is still a new player in the storage market. Red Hat acquired Gluster in October of 2011 for $136 million and launched the latest commercial Red Hat version in June.
Whitehurst commented that the storage market looks a lot like Linux did a decade ago, with relatively expensive solutions that have really, first-class capabilities.
“But not all your data and including most of your unstructured data, really doesn’t need to fly first class,” Whitehurst said.
As unstructured data grows, there has been an exponential growth in storage requirements that is fueling interest in Red Hat’s storage offering. Whitehurst said that Red Hat has already had its first first six-figure storage deal, and there are a lot of Proof-of-Concept evaluations in progress.
While Linux is the core of Red Hat’s business, Whitehurst is now trying to position the company more as a strategic solutions provider to customers.
“Frankly, to be blunt, no CIO I know of cares about Linux, right? It’s so far down in the stack,” Whitehurst said. “Yes, they know they use it, and they know it helps them save money, but that’s not what makes it strategic.”