Red Hat, a provider of open-source platforms for the enterprise, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Gredhat_0luster, a provider of scale-out, open-source storage solutions designed to standardize the management of unstructured data, for approximately $136 million in cash.

The acquisition adds a storage component to Red Hat’s strategy, which up to now has been focused around its operating system platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, along with cloud, virtualization, applications, management and service-oriented architecture solutions.

Red Hat’s aim is to offer its enterprise customers scalable storage solutions that protect infrastructure and application investments, said Charlie Peters, executive VP and CFO of Red Hat.

“Gluster will enable Red Hat to deliver a high-value solution for data storage,” Peters said. “Now we’ll enter the storage market and address another important infrastructure issue. Gluster’s goal has been to change the storage market much in the same way Linux changed the operating system market.”

As part of the transaction, Red Hat will also assume unvested Gluster equity outstanding on the closing date and issue certain equity retention incentives.  The transaction is expected to close in October, subject to customary closing conditions. Because Gluster is a startup, the acquisition is not expected to have material impact on Red Hat’s projections for 2011 revenue, Peters said.

Gluster was founded in 2005 with the goal of simplifying storage using open source software and commodity hardware. Its GlusterFS is a software-only, scale-out storage system that lets enterprises combine large numbers of commodity storage and compute resources into a high-performance, centrally-managed and globally-accessible storage pool.
 
Gluster recently announced the beta release of GlusterFS 3.3, the firm’s file system that lets IT users access the same data as an object and as a file in an effort to simplify management and lessen storage costs. The platform is designed to accelerate cloud adoption for enterprises by making it easier for them to migrate legacy apps to the cloud by making storage more addressable.

“Open source played a huge role in helping us build a community and getting us established as the industry standard for storage,” said AB Periasmy, CTO of Gluster. “The community was central to our success. We are getting most of our business from our community. These are not hobbyists—they are actual use cases.”