Red Hat acquires storage vendor and boosts presence in Canada

TORONTO – Red Hat has confirmed it plans to acquire Inktank, a vendor of scale-out, open source storage systems.

Inktank’s flagship product — Inktank Ceph Enterprise — delivers object and block storage software to enterprises deploying public or private clouds. The company plans to combine Inktank with Red Hat’s existing GlusterFS-based storage offering. This deal hopes to position Red Hat in the open software-defined storage market for object, block and file system storage.

Subsequent to this announcement are the moves Red Hat has made to strength itself in the Canadian marketplace.

Last month, former McAfee Canada and NCR Canada president Luc Villeneuve was appointed the new country leader for Red Hat Canada.

Rick Akie
Rick Akie

Rick Akie, the vice-president and general manager of North American commercial sales for Red Hat, told CDN that hiring someone of the calibre of Villeneuve means that open source pioneer is serious about the Canadian market.

“We believe there is a lot of growth potential in Canada and we want to continue to make investments in the Canadian market. I know we can grow this market up here higher than the core markets in the States and we’re looking at making more investments on a percentage basis accordingly,” Akie said.

Besides Villeneuve, Red Hat has added new sales and channel personnel in this fiscal quarter along with technical specialists that help the sales team.

According to Akie, generally the Canadian market lags slightly behind the U.S. by one or two years. Since the company has gained success in that time period in the U.S. the time was right for Canadian expansion. Akie sees opportunities for Red Hat and the channel with products such as Enterprise Linux and JBoss in the financial services market in Canada.

“It’s more consolidated in Canada with the banks. So one bank becomes a really big opportunity,” said Akie. “The same goes for the telcos and the oil and gas sector. We are interesting in all of them.”

There will also be focused investments in the channel for Red Hat Canada. Akie said that the company will be “doubling down” in Canada and have added resources for alliance partners.

“Luc wants to broaden that out for Red Hat Canada on the reseller side. We’ve invested on the alliance side and with global SIs, cloud providers, embedded ISV vendors and OEMs,” Akie said.

Red Hat has also appointed a new channel chief, D. Robert Martin, who left a similar role at VCE to become the vice-president of North American partner sales for Red Hat.

Red Hat’s channel objective is to grow what Akie called “indirect influence” to 100 per cent. That means all of Red Hat’s business will be touched by a channel partner or have an influence point based on bookings somewhere in the sales cycle.

Luc Villeneuve
Luc Villeneuve

Villeneuve told CDN that in the 90 days since he has taken over at Red Hat Canada, the subsidiary has seen more than 70 per cent improvement in deal registration in the first quarter. “We have about a 1,000 per cent increase in teaming agreements in the first quarter and it’s a reflection of how we have encouraged partners to do more business with us instead of doing business direct and the results show that,” Villeneuve said.

With Inktank, Red Hat agreed to acquire the privately-held vendor for approximately $175 million in cash. As part of the transaction, Red Hat will assume unvested Inktank equity outstanding on the closing date and issue certain equity retention incentives. The transaction is expected to close in May 2014, subject to customary closing conditions.

Recently the Los Angeles-based vendor launched Inktank University, a practical training program designed to meet the education needs of Inktank customers and the Ceph community. The courses, offered both virtually and in-person, allow anyone to learn the implementation, operation and maintenance of Ceph systems in an instructor-led classroom setting.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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