Linode, one of the earliest and currently the fourth-largest cloud-hosting provider in the computer service business (after Amazon, Rackspace and IBM), is based in Galloway Township, N.J., near Atlantic City, of all places. Mostly because founder Chris Aker grew up in Manahawkin and came home (first to Absecon, since 2011 to Galloway) after studying at West Virginia U, teaching at Full Sail U in Orlando, and developing software for a Nashville health-education firm.

Aker set up Linode (short for Linux node, of course) back in 2003 as a remote host for other Linux-based developers. "We were ahead of the game as far as the cloud industry and Linux virtual services," human-resource manager Vincent Palochko told me. "As of 2009, 10, 11, the growth has exploded and this has become a mainstream technology. Now we're working around the clock to keep our products and service ahead of the curve." Its 150,000 customers include Creative Commons and TheOnion.com, for example.

Linode has 41 employees in Galloway, and offers its cloud services from six data centers in Tokyo, London, Newark NJ, Atlanta, Dallas, and Fremont Calif. "Click a button, in just under a minute we have your service up and running,"Palochko says. "We still target developers, and hosting websites." Compared to Amazon or Rackspace, 'we concentrate more on simplicity. Instead of having scaleable services and a complex billing model, we want the simplest service, no surprises. Our customers know what the're going to get, and how they're going to be invoiced. With Amazon and Rackspace, their scaleable billing model can get unpredictable if you're not keeping track of it very closely."

What's it like luring tech staff to the Shore? "We're considering moving toward Philly," Palochko told me. "Our recruiting needs have beefed up over the past year," and Linode may need another 25 people in 2014, "if we can find them." Galloway offers a "relaxed" suburban environment, accessible by train and bus from the Absecon rail station. But Philly has 'excellent universities and a concentration of technically savvy people and companies. To tap into that market would be fantastic." 

Linode hires entry-level tech support people, typcially "eager" recent college graduates, who move in time "into a develper role or a network or a hardware role." Also poaching senior developers nad network engineers with years of expereince. "Our reach is huge. Our customer base is vast. We offer relocation assistance and a fantastic benefit package." Will that be enough to grow, down the Shore?