The company is a major provider of software for cloud computing; Red Hat Enterprise Linux ships with an impressive array of virtualization features to rival the best of VMware (NYSE: VMW ) , the Citrix Systems Xen platform, or Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Virtual Server. In fact, the company offers tools to move workloads back and forth between VMware, Xen, and its own KVM-based platform -- as well as into the Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN ) EC2 clouds in case your own machines run out of resources.
And now Red Hat is adding some storage management muscle by acquiring privately held Big Data expert Gluster for $136 million in cash.
No, Red Hat is not getting into hardware sales to compete with NetApp or EMC. Instead, Gluster provides software that helps your systems manage enormous data loads that are spread across various platforms. Whether your log files, virtual machine images, or databases are sitting on NetApp boxes in your data center or in cloud storage from Amazon or Rackspace Hosting, Gluster gives you a single management interface for all of it. End users won't know the difference.
"The explosion of big data and the new paradigm of cloud computing are converging," says Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens. And Red Hat is now standing at the very intersection of those enormous trends.
To learn more about this epic crossroads and why I'm so excited about Red Hat's move, my fellow Fools have prepared two absolutely free special reports. This report on Big Data explains why only a handful of companies are qualified to handle our increasingly enormous data-handling needs. In this video report, you'll see why cloud computing keeps Bill Gates awake at night.