Red Hat’s buy opening new doors for Durham tech

Ansible, a Durham open software automation firm acquired by Red Hat in 2015, made a move this week to broaden its market share through more Bull City innovation.

The company announced the release of what it’s calling “Ansible 2.1,” the latest version of its open source IT automation framework. It’s the third major release since Ansible was acquired by open source giant Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) last October, and another release – this time for its Tower Software – is expected in the coming weeks, says Todd Barr, senior vice president of sales and marketing.

While Ansible’s pace hasn’t picked up when it comes to product launches – (“We’ve never slowed down”) Barr says Red Hat’s resources have been able to broaden each of those releases.

“We’re doing more in the same time cycles, really because we have more people,” he says. While, citing the obligatory pre-earnings quiet period, he says he can’t provide a specific headcount, he says Ansible has increased healthily since it disclosed in March that it had 85 dedicated employees.

And it’s that investment that, so far, has had the most impact on Ansible post-buy. “We now have the ability to hire quality engineers,” Barr says. “When you’re a startup, you’re trying to get to market as fast as possible.”

When you’re Red Hat, a company that just posted $1.72 billion in annual revenue last February, you have the resources to refine further and fully test out your product. And a lot of that is through the people you’re able to higher – both with the Red Hat Wallet and with the Red Hat prestige. “We get a bigger pool of candidates,” he says. “And we’re still adding people in Durham, which is cool.”

Ansible is on track to meet the job projections it had when the deal was first announced, he says.

Last October, company executives said the then-50 person local headcount would likely add up to 50 employees in the 2016 calendar year.