IBM on Tuesday introduced two data centres in the United Arab Emirates to offer managed cloud services to companies in the Gulf country.
IBM said the local data centres will help organizations shift to a hybrid cloud model, and benefit from moving select critical data to a secure local cloud environment hosted in the UAE, while keeping mission critical data on premise.
In addition, as Middle East governments develop data-protection laws, many enterprises are adopting hybrid cloud strategies to keep certain customer information on premise to ensure regulatory compliance.
The IBM data centres — in Abu Dhabi and Dubai — will also provide backup and protection services for customers. In the event of a network failure, data will be recovered instantly and available for use in real-time, IBM said.
Such outages can be very costly for companies. According to IDC, the average cost of downtime is $250,000 per hour across all industries and organizational size.
Cloud providers flock to Gulf
IBM joins a growing list of tech companies looking to expand their presence in the Middle East.
Last year, Microsoft launched its first data centre regions in the Middle East, with locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, offering Azure’s cloud computing services and Office 365. A month later, in July, Amazon Web Services launched three availability zones in Bahrain.
Oracle has also inaugurated its first regional data centre in Abu Dhabi, and Alibaba has been providing cloud services since 2016. While the arrival of multiple hyperscale cloud data centres in the Middle East, cloud services have been ramping up.
For over a decade, VMware, Dell EMC, IBM, and Oracle have been providing cloud computing services in the Middle East, primarily for the banking and construction industries, and also for government organizations.
“Through our data centres and with our recent acquisition of Red Hat, we are helping organizations accelerate their move to hybrid cloud and interconnect different clouds, creating unified systems designed for increased consistency, automation and predictability,” said Hossam Seif El-Din, vice president, Enterprise and Commercial, IBM Middle East and Africa, in a press release.
Cloud deployment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is still at a nascent stage, but the development of infrastructure is picking up speed due to government policy and growing adoption rates among small and medium enterprises.
According to IDC, the MENA region will be worth US$5 billion to cloud vendors by 2022. Globally, the research firm expects 90 percent of enterprises to embrace integrated hybrid cloud tools and strategies to support different applications and use cases by 2024.