Red Hat's cloud application platforms boost growth

Kgaogelo Letsebe
By Kgaogelo Letsebe, Portals journalist
Johannesburg, 06 Feb 2017

Emerging technologies like middleware and container technologies will drive the future growth of Red Hat. This is according to Dion Harvey, country manager for Red Hat sub-Saharan Africa, speaking to ITWeb at the Red Hat Forum 2017 in Johannesburg last week.

Harvey said these emerging technologies enable customers to be agile and to change their business models to digitally transform globally and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although traditional portfolios like Linux are growing faster than other operating system environments, it is the next generation technology like cloud application platforms that are driving the demand, he adds.

"The industry is telling us that Linux is growing by 11 - 12% year on year while the Red Hat Linux market is growing at about 18 - 19% globally. The growth spurt has allowed the company to invest in Africa......opening offices in SA and looking at entering other markets.

Red Hat opened its South African company in 2008. "This made sense as the right foothold to not only market SA correctly but to then support our African customers correctly. Before, our partners were working as the Red Hat's representatives and they were not always able to answer the needs of the customers due to limited resources. Also, they were not always able to have direct reach into the company for full in-depth expertise."

Red Hat is now able to complement those partners in the country to a far larger degree and give them way more direct access to the RH depth of knowledge and enhance what it is that they deliver, says Harvey.

The company is now looking at surrounding countries to implement a similar model to that of SA.
Lee Miles, general manager at Red Hat Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), says East and West Africa present great opportunities for the company, especially Kenya.

"We are seeing growth in Kenya which will possibly be the next country for us to tackle. Generally looking at the META region as a footprint. We visit 49 countries in a quarter. Uganda, Botswana, Tanzania, all of these present a lot of opportunities for us. Obviously it will require that we work out the right ecosystem model and the right company model."

However, this growth presents skills shortages, says Harvey. The open source community as a whole is not enough to fill the skills shortage gap. "One of the things we have to work out is if we grow at the extent that we've been growing in the past two or three years, how many skills would we need for that?"