Amazon Web Services launches second Middle East cloud region in the UAE

The facility in the UAE will provide secure data storage and is projected to add about $11bn over the next 15 years to the country's GDP

Amazon Web Services is the world's biggest cloud services provider, controlling a third of the global market as of the first quarter of 2022. Reuters
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Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing unit of the world's biggest e-commerce marketplace, has launched its second Middle East cloud region in the UAE, allowing organisations to use one of the world's biggest cloud services providers.

The AWS Middle East (UAE) Region, which is located in the UAE, aims to support entrepreneurs, enterprises, the government and other entities in their operations by securely storing their data, and is projected to add about $11 billion over the next 15 years to the UAE’s gross domestic product, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Through the new region, AWS has laid out a $5bn investment strategy in the local economy until 2036, and its projected spending on the construction and operation of the new region will support an average of 6,000 full-time jobs annually, it added.

AWS declined to share the exact location of the region with The National for security reasons.

The opening is a “significant milestone for Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole, reflecting our efforts to generate opportunities for all”, Mohamed Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said in the statement.

“It strengthens Abu Dhabi’s commitment to positioning itself as a leading digital economy by leveraging cutting-edge technology to support business growth.

“The enhanced cloud capabilities enabled by AWS are expected to generate significant advantages and efficiencies that can propel businesses to success and realise major economic benefits for the country.”

GCC states are attracting a large number of global cloud technology companies because of the rise of tech-focused young consumers and an evolving digital landscape in the region.

The global cloud computing market was valued at $368.97bn in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of almost 16 per cent from 2022 to 2030, with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning among its primary drivers, according to Grand View Research.

Global spending on public cloud services, meanwhile, is expected to rise by more than 20 per cent annually to $495bn this year — nearly $84bn more than what was spent in 2020 — and hit $600bn in 2023, according to research firm Gartner.

AWS first announced plans to open cloud regions in the UAE in May last year, in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio), which aims to use technologies to provide organisations and residents opportunities to grow their businesses and support their activities.

“Smart infrastructure is powering the thriving private and public sectors by opening new economic possibilities, fostering inclusive growth and creating opportunities for collaboration across our innovation ecosystem,” said Abdulla AlShamsi, acting director general of Adio.

AWS said that organisations in the UAE are among its active users, and are part of the “tens of thousands” of customers they have in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Among those local entities are conglomerates, Al Ghurair Investments, Al Tayer Group, logistics company Aramex, and low-cost airline flydubai.

“We are making it possible for even more customers to harness the power of the cloud to drive innovation across the UAE, while also investing in the local economy,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of infrastructure services at AWS.

With the new UAE region, AWS now has 87 availability zones across 27 regions. It has also announced plans to launch 21 more zones and seven more regions in Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.

AWS is the world's biggest cloud services provider, controlling a third of the global market as of the first quarter of 2022, according to data from Statista.

Microsoft's Azure and Google Cloud are next with market shares of 21 per cent and 8 per cent, respectively, it said.

The company's new region is the latest in AWS’s continuing investments in the UAE. In 2018, it launched its first Amazon CloudFront edge locations in the Emirates.

In June, Amazon opened its largest delivery station in Abu Dhabi as it continues to scale up operations. The 4,700-square-metre centre — the company's second-largest in the UAE — provides same-day and one-day delivery services to its customers in the emirate.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 3:16 PM
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