Red Hat ups regional emphasis

Linux vendor wants to develop its channel by recruiting more advanced partners

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By  Julian Pletts Published  February 27, 2008

Linux vendor Redhat says it is looking to develop its channel by appointing more partners capable of promoting the open source-based operating system in the Middle East.

“Our goal is to recruit more advanced partners in this region so we have more feet on the street who are able to articulate the products to the end customer,” explained Werner Knoblich VP and general manager for EMEA at Red Hat, recently in his first visit to the Middle East. “But everything will be indirect, through partners, because the partner element is very important to us,” he added.

Knoblich is candid about the fact that, despite making inroads into the server market, Linux adoption is still relatively low in the Middle East and there is a great deal of distance to be covered, largely by partners, before the open source operating system is fully accepted here. The vendor currently has a long standing relationship with Opennet as its largest regional distributor and representative in the market.

“Right now we are relying too much on our partners, and also the partners have financial limitations and limitations on the brands that they can use,” admitted Knoblich. “It is usually much easier for us to help with market awareness using some references from large customers such as Aramco and Emirates Airlines."

The vendor also revealed that it hopes in the future to install regional offices in both the Middle East and South Africa. “I have already had meetings recently with Dubai Internet City authority to find out the process of getting the company registered here and I was surprised that it was actually quite easy,” said Knoblich.

“It is not a question of if we will come, but when, and this when is getting much closer. So I would like to get these things moving because I am hearing that there is so much potential here but there is a lack of certain market awareness.” He continued: “In two or three years we hope to have over 30 employees here, but it really depends on how successful we are in driving adoption. I see a lot of potential and we are the clear leader in the open source space.”

If Redhat are to be believed then this aim might be within the realms of possibility as, according to Knoblich, IT research specialists Gartner have prophesised that by the year 2012, 80% of all software will contain some elements of open source coding.

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