Oracle to expand Dubai operations amid plans to build more cloud regions in Middle East

The company is working 'full tilt' to meet surging demand worldwide, executive says

Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, said cloud services have helped the UAE 'transform into a global economic and technology powerhouse'. Photo: Oracle
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Oracle will be expanding its Dubai operations as part of a broader plan to build more cloud infrastructure in the Middle East amid the region's digital shift.

The company's Dubai office will undergo a “major” renovation that will help its customers to “literally visualise the future of their companies with latest AI [artificial intelligence] and cloud tech”, said Nick Redshaw, Oracle's senior vice president for tech cloud and UAE country leader.

Oracle will be investing in developing a “state-of-the-art customer experience centre” at its Dubai centre that will also include futuristic employee workspaces, he told The National.

Clay Magouyrk, executive vice president for Oracle cloud infrastructure, said the Emirates had transformed into “a global economic and technology powerhouse”, with the cloud having “enabled incredible business transformations across every industry sector nationwide”.

The company – which in 2024 marks 35 years of operations in the UAE – is also working “full tilt” to meet surging demand worldwide, he told The National in an interview.

Texas-based Oracle currently has three live cloud regions in the Middle East, one each in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Jeddah, with two more planned in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia's coming high-tech city Neom.

The company will be able to add to the Middle East's five cloud regions “fast and operate them inexpensively”, said Mr Magouyrk, who reports to Oracle founder and executive chairman Larry Ellison.

“They are all architecturally identical, highly automated and utilise the same high-performance network, autonomous services and applications, to keep pace with rapid demand,” he said.

He did not provide a specific timetable for the opening of the planned cloud regions.

The adoption of cloud services has continued to grow in the Middle East amid the rise of technology savvy young consumers and an evolving digital landscape, underpinned by government efforts to develop the future economy.

This has given global cloud providers an incentive to tap into the potential being offered by the region, most notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Arab world's two largest economies.

Apart from Oracle, global companies including Microsoft, Amazon, IBM and Alibaba Cloud have all opened cloud and data centres in the Middle East.

Oracle does not provide market share figures. It currently manages 67 cloud regions across 26 countries.

Data from industry publication Technology Magazine showed that, as of October 2023, Amazon Web Services had the biggest market share with 32 per cent, followed by Microsoft Azure with 22 per cent and Google Cloud with 11 per cent. Oracle had a global market share of 2 per cent, it said.

Worldwide revenue for the public cloud services market rose more than 19 per cent annually to about $315.5 billion in the first half of 2023, the latest data from the International Data Corporation shows.

“We see booming demand for cloud in the public sector … as the market has matured, it’s now very clear that one-size cloud does not meet all needs,” Mr Magouyrk said.

The shift in customer behaviour towards the cloud has put two segments – security and generative AI – in the spotlight.

Enterprises will be able to boost their cloud and IT security by simplifying it, Mr Magouyrk said.

“Many organisations are breached not because they don’t have enough security tools, but because their toolset is overly complicated and various security fixes are typically added to workloads after they start to scale, instead of being designed in from the start,” he said.

Generative AI will also be able to address the challenge of simplifying how businesses can get the most out of their data.

“To date, much data has been walled off from non-technical users. Applied generative AI breaks down that barrier, allowing authorised users to ask questions – in human language – of corporate data, building AI into its infrastructure, models and services, and into its applications,” Mr Magouyrk said.

At Oracle CloudWorld in Las Vegas last September, the company announced its first generative AI services on its Cloud Fusion platform.

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“Enterprises across industries have started adopting generative AI to support simple business processes and many enterprise applications vendors are embedding generative AI into business processes to make users more productive,” Mr Magouyrk said.

In the UAE, Oracle has teamed up with the Dubai Business Women Council to launch the sAIdaty initiative, aimed at enhancing AI skills among women professionals and entrepreneurs.

The year-long programme will equip 500 members of the council with the requisite skills and help them to use the technology across their businesses, workplace and other areas.

The initiative “will not only advance [women's] professional journeys but also contribute significantly to the UAE's digital economy goals”, said Nadine Halabi, business development manager of the council.

Updated: January 24, 2024, 11:04 AM