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Latin America booms for Red Hat

Latin America was Red Hat's fastest-growing region last quarter, driven by a desire for low prices and an ability to make fast IT decisions.

Red Had recently announced a strong quarter, but it neglected to mention whether it, like IBM, Dell, and others before it, was making progress in developing markets like Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Russia.

Well, the answer just came out: Latin America was Red Hat's fastest-growing region in its second quarter of fiscal year 2009, according to Martín D'Elia, Red Hat's marketing manager for the region.

Brazil ranks highest in commercial open-source adoption in Latin America, with Argentina and Mexico also delivering, according to D'Elia. Top industries for peso-paid open-source adoption include government, banking, and telecom.

Despite the common assumption that Latin America won't pay for software, Red Hat's open-source solutions have done well there, a fact confirmed during my recent visit to Buenos Aires. Key drivers behind the trend? According to Red Hat:

(O)ne of the reasons why Latin America recorded the fastest growth was the good level of IT adoption and the faster decision cycles, compared to more mature regions and the fact that open source has a higher penetration than in other regions.

"The cost factor is also an issue (in boosting the adoption of open-source technologies) in Latin America, particularly in countries that are mostly affected by the fluctuation of the dollar...We have also seen many migrations at the data center level to Linux, complemented with virtualization," (D'Elia) added.

Latin America is unlikely to make up for weakening demand in North America or Europe for companies, as it's still a comparatively small market. But for open-source vendors looking for a fast-growing region in which to invest, Latin America may be just the thing, which could be one reason that MySQL will soon open its first office in Brazil. Open-source salsa, anyone?