LOS ANGELES, CA--(Apr 30, 2014) - DreamHost®, a global leader in web hosting and cloud services for entrepreneurs and developers, today announced its heartfelt congratulations and virtual high-fives all around to the Inktank team on their acquisition by Red Hat for $190MM in deal consideration and retention payments ("that's a whole lotta calamari").
With an ending as happy as this, we just have to tell you the story, so bear with us.
Early work on Ceph, the open source object, block and file storage software, began in 2004 in the verdant hills of UC Santa Cruz as part of the Storage Systems Research Center under sponsorship by the U.S. Department of Energy. DreamHost co-founder Sage Weil was part of the research team that built the first working prototype of the Ceph distributed file system as part of his Ph.D. work on distributed systems with his advisor Scott Brandt.
After a studious Ph.D. and contributions by many a CompSci student, lecturer, and luminary, Sage graduated in 2007 and continued work on Ceph with a small team of engineers at DreamHost, nurtured by admins who long-imagined a world freed from monolithic and proprietary storage systems. Their big dream was to change the world by engineering an open source (now called "software-defined") storage system that would be capable of storing petabytes of data on any old set of servers, and be just as resilient, reliable, and performant as the big expensive options.
In 2010, many important Ceph bits were accepted into the Linux kernel, providing users with native block and file clients. Ceph was blossoming to fill a need faced by many cloud infrastructure and web scale companies -- a need for speedy, reliable, resilient data storage across many thousands of servers where hardware failures are an accepted fact of life.
By 2011 the project had matured, with research institutions, enterprises and service providers of all sizes testing Ceph. Out of this momentum came Inktank, born as a new open source company to expand the development of Ceph and to evangelize, support and provide professional services for the burgeoning distributed storage system. Bryan Bogensberger, a senior executive at DreamHost at the time, developed the business plan for spinning out Inktank, serving as the company's first President/COO and then as its CEO beginning in 2013. Simon Anderson, CEO of DreamHost, co-founded Inktank along with Sage and Bryan and became Chair of the Board. Simon also led the structuring of the spinoff and the initial $5MM of startup capital from DreamHost. Additional capital later came from other private and strategic investors, taking Inktank's total funding raised to $13MM.
Sage, Bryan and Simon worked closely together in the early days with a growing team to develop the early company strategy, define early product definitions, and create the new branding. Alongside a talented management team, Bryan and Sage went about building a powerhouse organization full of skilled engineers and business team leaders dedicated to leveling the playing field and CRUSHing the competition in software-defined storage.
DreamHost was Inktank's first customer, signing on for enterprise subscription services to support DreamHost's object storage service, DreamObjects (which is, of course, powered by Ceph). DreamObjects was also the world's first and largest public commercial deployment of Ceph when it went into beta in September 2012 and was released into GA in January 2013. Over ten thousand users have signed on as DreamObjects customers since its launch, and their usage levels continue to grow as more and more users realize the power of storing application data and personal backups in the cloud at industry-leading price points.
Ceph has quickly risen to become the open source storage platform of choice for both public and private clouds, and it is quickly gaining popularity among users of the OpenStack framework. According to the OpenStack Foundation, approximately 20% of all OpenStack clouds deploy Ceph for block storage. DreamHost is a major contributor to the OpenStack project and a gold member of the OpenStack Foundation.
"It's awesome to see Sage's vision to create the most disruptive open source storage software recognized through this high profile acquisition by Red Hat," commented Simon. "The whole team here at DreamHost are very proud to have played a role in nurturing Ceph, supporting the Inktank team, and making a gutsy bet with our initial investment. We'll continue to be founding fans as the dramatic adoption of Ceph continues."
"The entire Inktank team would like to thank everyone at DreamHost for their tremendous support," said Bryan. "Without DreamHost's many years of Ceph incubation, months of hardcore testing and being the early adopter, Inktank's tremendous outcome would not have been possible."
"Finally! I am so pleased to be able to stop reading legal documents and get back to writing code," said Sage. "I am grateful to the DreamHost family for the supportive role they have played. This acquisition is a big step forward in bringing resources to bear in making Ceph into an even better storage platform. We are very excited about the future."
The acquisition of Inktank is expected to close on April 30, 2014. Credit Suisse acted as exclusive financial advisor to Inktank, and Cooley LLP served as legal counsel.
DreamHost is a global Web hosting and cloud services company with over 370,000 entrepreneur and developer customers, and 1.3 million blogs, websites, and apps hosted. The Company develops and uses Open Source software throughout its infrastructure, and is a leading proponent of OpenStack and Ceph. DreamHost offers a wide spectrum of Web services including Shared Hosting, Virtual Private Servers (VPS), Dedicated Server Hosting, Domain Name Registration, the public cloud storage service, DreamObjects, and the public cloud computing service, DreamCompute. Please visit www.DreamHost.com for more information.
Inktank® is transforming storage with Ceph®, the massively scalable, open source, software-defined storage system that radically improves the economics and management of data management. Launched by leading Ceph developers, Inktank's mission is to help enterprises use Ceph to break free of expensive and proprietary storage systems to decrease their storage costs, increase their operational flexibility, and effectively manage their rapidly growing data. Inktank Ceph Enterprise™ is the market's first enterprise-grade, dedicated Ceph product offering that delivers everything needed to confidently run a production Ceph storage cluster at scale. In addition, Inktank provides best-in-class professional services and Ceph training. Please visit www.inktank.com for more information, or follow us on Twitter at @inktank.
Ceph®, The Future of Storage™, is a massively scalable, open source, software-defined storage system that runs on commodity hardware. Ceph has been developed from the ground up to deliver object, block, and file system storage in one self-managing, self-healing platform with no single point of failure. With its highly scalable, software-defined storage architecture, Ceph is an ideal replacement for legacy storage systems and provides a unified solution for cloud computing environments. Ceph is the foundation of Inktank Ceph Enterprise™ and the brainchild of Inktank® founder and CTO Sage Weil.
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