If the advent of object-based storage à la OpenStack Swift is one sign of the decline of traditional storage technologies, the momentum of software-defined storage is yet more evidence that the future of data storage for the cloud and the enterprise is changing. And open source giant Red Hat (RHT) is the latest vendor to jump on board, with the announcement of new software-defined storage options for Red Hat partners that could have a wide impact across the channel.

As of mid-January, Red Hat began offering open source, software-defined storage solutions as an additonal part of its global partner program. The products "will enable eligible partners with a range of go-to-market tools and storage solutions that help drive improved efficiency, incremental revenue, and build customer loyalty," according to the company.

The storage options include certifications from Red Hat's Online Partner Enablement Network, which the company launched last fall, as well as access to technologies offered through partnerships between Red Hat and other organizations. Those include AWS Test Drive for the Amazon cloud and "proven designs from partners such as HP, SuperMicro, CommVault, Intel and others," Red Hat said.

The announcement came during Red Hat's North American Partner Conference, which was held Jan. 13-15. The company also used the conference to highlight the overhaul of its partner programs over the last year and its close relationship with Google and Amazon, and to discuss its search for a new channel chief.

Alongside the next-generation open source storage solution Swift, the OpenStack component that provides object-based storage tailored for high performance and scalability in the cloud, Red Hat's efforts to promote open source software-defined storage skills and technologies within the channel are a good indicator that the future of enterprise storage will be both open and more powerful than traditional storage infrastructure. In place of immobile file system hierarchies tightly tied to physical devices, and sometimes dependent on proprietary code, storage solutions that can scale and migrate seamlessly across large networks appear poised to provide the backbone of data delivery going forward.