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Sunday, 31 March 2019 05:46

IBM's Red Hat buy 'shows future importance of open source'

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Andy Jiang: "IBM’s intention to acquire Red Hat is a clear indication of the important role open source technology and standards will play in the current and future direction of IT infrastructure." Andy Jiang: "IBM’s intention to acquire Red Hat is a clear indication of the important role open source technology and standards will play in the current and future direction of IT infrastructure." Supplied

Open source company SUSE says the acquisition of Red Hat, once the biggest independent open source firm, by IBM shows the importance of the role that open source technology and standards will play in the future.

Ahead of the company's annual conference, SUSECON, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1 to 5 April, Andy Jiang, SUSE vice-president and general manager Asia Pacific and Japan, told iTWire in response to queries that SUSE, now an independent business, was in a good position to work closely with its partners and customers to ensure that they could benefit from the "freedom and flexibility" of enterprise open source solutions.

Asked whether SUSE had now decided to adopt a more aggressive attitude towards the competition — as exemplified in a blog post made recently by Ryan Hagen, consulting manager, Global SUSE Services, about loud infrastructure and business mobility vendor VMware — Jiang did not give a direct answer, but said:

"SUSE’s approach and outlook has always been to work cohesively with our partners and support them in the best possible way to enable them to succeed.

"Over the years SUSE has built a strong partner ecosystem to provide our customers the solutions they need. VMware is part of that ecosystem as one of our strategic alliance partners. A major part of our growth story comes from our open relationship with industry partners and our involvement in open source communities."

Last year, SUSE was acquired by its fourth owner in 15 years, with the Swedish growth investor EQT buying the company from British mainframe form Micro Focus, and taking it private. Prior to this, SUSE was bought by Novell in 2003 and taken public before Novell itself was acquired by Attachmate and again became a private company.

Micro Focus bought Attachmate in 2014 and became the owner of SUSE – meaning that the Nuremberg-based company again became a public unit.

Asked about these ownership changes and how the executives at the top — who have remained the same for the most part — had ridden out the changes, Jiang said:

"Despite ownership changes, our executive leadership team has remained steady and very committed to executing our growth strategy. They’ve been very successful leading SUSE through changing market dynamics, and that success has shown in our growth and value.

"Our executive team is growing with our new company independence as we’ve added new leadership roles such as chief financial officer and chief operating officer to foster our continued business momentum."

Jiang said it made little difference whether SUSE was a private or public firm. "...what matters most is our single-minded focus on delivering what customers need and want," he said.

"We are focused on consistently meeting market demands for innovative technology and solutions to business problems, and we’ve been successful for more than 25 years regardless of our ownership model."

Asked which market between China and India he saw as having more potential for growth for SUSE in the next decade, Jiang said both countries were important and key contributors to SUSE's healthy growth in the APJ region.

"SUSE’s Asia Pacific business as a whole has achieved strong growth over the past eight years," he said. "Revenue from the region is three times what it was when SUSE moved under Micro Focus in 2014.

"Our core business solutions help enterprises across the region with their mission-critical workloads while accelerating our growth in software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that will enable customers to meet today’s business challenges."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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