According to Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, the biggest commercial Linux vendor is planning on hiring at least 1,000 new employees in 2012--increasing the size of its staff by 24 percent.
This interesting data was revealed in a recent interview in Investor's Business Daily, where Whitehurst cites cloud computing as the big reason for Red Hat's explosive growth.
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Ironically, Whitehurst sees the success of Red Hat and companies like Amazon in the cloud as a factor in actually slowing overall economic growth:
"Companies are finally starting to see significant productivity gains from technology, so they are able to grow without hiring as many people.
"We are hiring, and I'm sure companies like Amazon and others who provide cloud computing are hiring. But I think that is a drop in the bucket relative to the productivity we are providing enterprises, and that again leads to, unfortunately, slower job growth."
Whitehurst's revelation of Red Hat's hiring plans jibes well with the overall job growth being reported in the Linux ecosystem. Last month, SUSE VP of Linux Engineering Ralf Flaxa told me that his company was opening 10-20 new positions a week… a trend that, if it continues through 2012, would have the Linux division of Attachmate picking up anywhere from 500-1000 employees as well.
Red Hat seems well on the way to acquiring the 1K workers… in its fiscal third quarter that ended on Nov. 30, Red Hat had hired 250 staffers. The company is also moving from its Centennial Campus offices at North Carolina State to bigger digs in downtown Raleigh, NC later this year.
Beyond the overarching growth of cloud computing, Whitehurst specifically sees the growth of big data as the major impetus for cloud's success in the months to come:
"It's likely that if you bought a washing machine in the last two or three years, it has a microprocessor more powerful than your first computer. In the future, your car's engine will be hooked up to the (wireless) system in your house and it will download the latest updates to see the way your gas is being used based on the weather conditions. Dishwashers and washing machines will also be connected (to the home network). This mega new network explodes the need for computing on the back end, in the cloud. I call it a paradigm shift from client servers to this new generation."
This is a telling observation, because clearly such a massive influx of data is going to need to have the back-end infrastructure to handle the load.
Data systems such as those provided by Hadoop, Cassandra, and Brisk will become even more popular in the days to come--not to mention infrastructure services provided by Red Hat, Amazon, and OpenStack.
It will be interesting to see how this wave of new data will change the topography of enterprise and (if Whitehurst is correct) our home networks. But with the growth of the true automated cloud services will come the growth of Linux.
More than anything, I am sure this is why Microsoft felt compelled to enable Linux on its Windows Azure cloud; if the cloud monster wave is indeed coming, then at this point Microsoft has to do anything it can to ride that wave… even it means piggy-backing on Tux's surfboard.
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