Amazon Web Services (AWS) said on Wednesday it will open three data centres in the UAE in the first half of next year to tap into the burgeoning demand for cloud services in the country.
The new centres will enable the company to expand its data storage offering to public and private enterprises, start-ups and educational institutions, which are experiencing an uptick in demand for cloud solutions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2019, the Seattle-based company opened three data centres – its first in the region – in Bahrain.
"We have invested continuously since 2019 across the region … with the rapid growth in cloud computing demand, it became necessary for us to add additional capabilities," Max Peterson, vice president of worldwide public sector at AWS, told The National.
The Middle East and Africa market is among the top three regions worldwide where the public cloud services domain is seeing the fastest growth, according to International Data Corporation.
The spending on public cloud services in the region is expected to surge to $11.6 billion by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 25.5 per cent, IDC said. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa remain the three biggest markets within the region for spending on cloud, it added.
AWS, the biggest cloud storage provider in the world, counts First Abu Dhabi Bank, flydubai, Union Insurance, Careem, StarzPlay, Anghami and Sarwa as its customers. It declined to disclose the investment made in its UAE data centres.
“There is great potential in the Middle East to take advantage of modern cloud computing … they [businesses] are leveraging cloud because they want to reach the global market,” Mr Peterson said. The executive did not disclose the exact locations of the UAE data centres due to security reasons.
Last month, AWS reported revenues of $13.5bn in the first quarter of this year – nearly 6.2 per cent more than the last three months of 2020 – as demand for cloud computing continued into 2021.
Globally, AWS has 80 data centres across 25 locations, with plans to launch 18 more data centres in Australia, India, Indonesia, Spain and Switzerland in addition to the UAE in the coming months.
AWS has joined forces with various stakeholders in the Emirates, including Abu Dhabi Investment Office, to ensure a smooth roll out of its data facilities in the UAE.
"AWS' announcement solidifies and reinforces what Abu Dhabi government has been doing and what we [Adio] have been creating in the UAE for the past many years," Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of Adio, told The National.
“We are open to partnering with global companies to fuel the tech growth in the region. A lot of the companies that are basing themselves here don’t look at Abu Dhabi or the UAE just as a single market but they consider it as an access point to the wider region,” he added
The UAE is focused on using advanced technology to develop its non-oil sector in line with a strategy to diversify its economy and reduce reliance on hydrocarbons. Adio is facilitating private sector participation into the broader economy through public-private partnerships and by helping to attract foreign investment.
Several global tech titans, such as SAP, Microsoft, Alibaba and Oracle have established data centres in the Middle East.
For regional enterprises, moving to a cloud system hosted by a specialised company proves cheaper than creating their own infrastructure of servers, hardware and security networks.
“Our cloud approach has been one of the fundamental principles of our technology strategy since the beginning of last year. This has accelerated our digital transformation in the cloud and on-premises with 50 per cent improved time-to-market,” said Yuri Misnik, chief technology officer of FAB.
“We welcome the upcoming AWS region in the UAE, which will help us realise our cloud ambitions effectively and securely while being fully compliant with local regulation.”
AWS’ data facilities will also allow its global customers to leverage the region to serve new audiences.
"We are excited to partner with Amazon and bring our trusted platform to new markets, empowering customers to succeed from anywhere by leveraging Hyperforce [cloud platform] and all the advantages of public cloud computing," said Srinivas Tallapragada, president and chief engineering officer of Salesforce, a US-based customer relationship management firm.