Public cloud gains pace in the MENA region
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Public cloud gains pace in the MENA region

Public cloud gains pace in the MENA region

With cloud computing gaining traction during the pandemic, players like Oracle have stepped up and demonstrated their commitment to the region through the opening of cloud regions

Divsha Bhat

Cloud computing is proliferating in the Middle East as many organisations are moving their processes and data to the cloud. The region is undergoing economic transformations; more countries are implementing smart city initiatives and updating their national visions while improving their digital economies. Gartner estimates that end-user expenditure on public cloud services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will reach $5.7bn in 2022.

Unlocking opportunities
Meanwhile, major cloud players, like Oracle, have also demonstrated their commitment to the region with massive investments to enable organisations of all sizes to achieve strategic objectives through digital transformation. The cloud provider has launched its cloud regions in Jeddah and Dubai in 2020, Abu Dhabi in 2021, besides also announcing NEOM as the location of its second cloud region in Saudi Arabia taking the total count of its cloud regions to four in the Middle East. Oracle aims to launch 44 cloud regions globally by the end of 2022.

Based in Johannesburg, Oracle also recently launched its first cloud region in Africa in January 2022.

Oracle’s cloud regions in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are built on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), allowing customers to easily migrate current workloads and data platforms or develop new cloud-native applications that benefit from improved performance, reduced costs, and built-in security features. Customers can now access the complete portfolio of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications and Oracle Autonomous Database, allowing them to choose the architecture that best meets their business needs.

What Abu Dhabi cloud region means for businesses
The Abu Dhabi cloud region aims to provide customers with more robust business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities. At the Abu Dhabi cloud region launch event on January 19, the company highlighted supporting the UAE’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Strategy, which focuses on advancing the national economy by driving innovation with the latest technologies.

“The rapid adoption of cloud-based technologies like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning is vital for building a thriving digital economy and is a key priority for the UAE. With the Dubai and Abu Dhabi regions, we have the required cloud infrastructure for organisations across public and private sectors, including SMBs, to accelerate their digital transformation,” said Richard Smith, executive vice president, Technology, EMEA, Oracle.

Jyoti Lalchandani, group VP and regional managing director – META, IDC says: “Public cloud services adoption is accelerating at CAGR of 28 per cent year on year between 2020 and 2025 in the UAE and IDC projects that the growth momentum will continue. Cloud’s role in enabling innovation is underscored by the priority organisations have given to cloud in their digital transformation initiatives. Cloud-based technologies have helped organisations whether the Covid-19 crisis and cloud is now helping them build a resilient organisation that can withstand uncertainties”

Helping drive FDI in the UAE
Growing number of organisations in the UAE have migrated some or all their on-premises IT infrastructure deployments to SaaS, IaaS and PaaS cloud environments and are realising a range of benefits as a result. These include anywhere/anytime access, open ended scalability, infrastructure flexibility, rapid deployment, and shhorter time to market. One of the most sought after benefits, not surprisingly, is cost reduction.

These significant cost savings are channeled back into the local economy, thus making an important contribution to national digital economy.

Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade said: “Oracle’s decision to open a second cloud region in the UAE is a clear reflection of our nation’s embrace of digital transformation, advanced technologies and the applications of the fourth industrial revolution, which have become central to our economic and investment strategy for the next 50 years. We are committed to developing an innovative- and knowledge-based economy that encourages the development and deployment of the technologies of the future, and attracting human, financial and technological capital to the nation is central to these ambitions.”

Edge over competitors
Oracle’s strategy is to meet customers where they are, enabling them to keep data and services where they need them. “Our strategy is based on the idea that the cloud should be engineered to support every app, rather than forcing customers to re-engineer their applications to work with the cloud. To do this, we had to build a different cloud. As a result, unlike any other cloud vendor, we offer a complete range of Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud service,” said the company in a statement.

According to Oracle, some key differentiators separate them from other cloud vendors: Customers can choose OCI over AWS to easily implement security controls and automation to prevent misconfiguration errors and implement security best practices. In addition, they can consume cloud services in the public cloud or within their own data centre with Oracle Dedicated Region Cloud@Customer.

Meanwhile, choosing OCI over the Google Cloud Platform allows customers to lower risks with Oracle’s end-to-end SLAs covering services’ performance, availability, and manageability.

Staying ahead of the curve
Oracle is also dedicated to sustainability and has vowed to use 100 per cent renewable energy to power all Oracle cloud regions worldwide by 2025. Some of its cloud regions are already powered entirely by renewable energy, and all Oracle cloud regions utilise energy management and cooling technology to reduce their environmental effect.

The cloud provider has been staying a step ahead in the region. Leading organisations such as DP World, Abu Dhabi Customs, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, Miral, Saudi Railways, Mashreq Bank, Damac, Saudi Arabia Tourism Development Fund, Saudi Railway Company, Saudi Arabia Mining Company (Ma’aden) have already chosen Oracle Cloud solutions to drive major transformation within their organisations.

Read: Qatar Airways moves financial planning to Oracle cloud

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