Lack of local servers holds back cloud computing in the UAE

Cloud computing is being hampered in the UAE because of security fears over a lack of local service providers, experts say.

But that is about to change, as Etisalat plans to roll out cloud services by the end of this year.

Cloud is a system where information is stored in a remote server and can be shared among different devices.

Its integration into the country's business sector was a central topic of discussion yesterday at a conference organised by Etisalat BT Innovation Centre at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University (KU).

Chris Record, leader of cloud sales at IBM Middle East in Dubai, said the lack of a local provider meant the technology was not developing because it's unsafe to store information overseas.

"The big thing here is the data - you can't run secure data [on servers] outside the country," Mr Record said. "You have to keep it here and use local providers."

Robert Griffin, head of security at the Swiss cloud-computing firm EMC, said the biggest problem with cloud was that the service providers might not be able to protect important data.

"This is a new area that requires the ability to deal with new problems, so there's a huge amount that has to be done," Mr Griffin said.

He said there was "no way to achieve absolute security" because of infiltration by hackers and other countries "who are actively trying to penetrate and extract information".

"These issues are why we're not moving to the next level," he said.

Mr Record said other barriers in the UAE included a lack of knowledge and understanding of cloud services.

He quoted a recent survey by IBM that showed only 5 per cent of people in the Middle East have a solid understanding of the concept, compared with 10 per cent in Europe.

In a business sense, cloud computing is a service where computer hardware and software are provided by an outsourced company over a network.

"Cloud is simply a new way of delivering a service; the technology is the same," Mr Record said.

The UAE is in the beginning phase of the "race to be first", which means the market is open for entrepreneurs to set up businesses as providers, he said.

Etisalat's senior vice president of information and communication technology (ICT), Abdulla Hashim, revealed that the telecoms company is in the process of building the cloud infrastructure in its data centre and will be focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises.

"This is a good opportunity for those people who don't have the IT resources and staff; they will get everything in a box - all the applications required to run businesses," Mr Hashim said.

Neil Lock, the IT services programme director at British Telecommunications, said the IT industry focused too much on hardware and infrastructure, which students graduating from universities "don't care about".

"They care about where they can get service provided, and if they don't like it they go somewhere else," Mr Lock said.

Dr Mohammed Al Mualla, senior vice president for research and development at KU, said cloud computing was "the hot topic in the ICT sector in the UAE and one of the key areas we want to develop".


Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

The specs

Engine: 4-cylinder 2-litre
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Power: 252 brake horsepower
Torque: 352Nm
Price: from Dh146,700
On sale: now

The specs: 2018 Audi RS5

Price, base: Dh359,200

Engine: 2.9L twin-turbo V6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 450hp at 5,700rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 1,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 8.7L / 100km

How green is the expo nursery?

Some 400,000 shrubs and 13,000 trees in the on-site nursery

An additional 450,000 shrubs and 4,000 trees to be delivered in the months leading up to the expo

Ghaf, date palm, acacia arabica, acacia tortilis, vitex or sage, techoma and the salvadora are just some heat tolerant native plants in the nursery

Approximately 340 species of shrubs and trees selected for diverse landscape

The nursery team works exclusively with organic fertilisers and pesticides

All shrubs and trees supplied by Dubai Municipality

Most sourced from farms, nurseries across the country

Plants and trees are re-potted when they arrive at nursery to give them room to grow

Some mature trees are in open areas or planted within the expo site

Green waste is recycled as compost

Treated sewage effluent supplied by Dubai Municipality is used to meet the majority of the nursery’s irrigation needs

Construction workforce peaked at 40,000 workers

About 65,000 people have signed up to volunteer

Main themes of expo is  ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and three subthemes of opportunity, mobility and sustainability.

Expo 2020 Dubai to open in October 2020 and run for six months

Tips for holiday homeowners

There are several factors for landlords to consider when preparing to establish a holiday home:

  • Revenue potential of the unit: location, view and size
  • Design: furnished or unfurnished. Is the design up to standard, while being catchy at the same time?
  • Business model: will it be managed by a professional operator or directly by the owner, how often does the owner wants to use it for personal reasons?
  • Quality of the operator: guest reviews, customer experience management, application of technology, average utilisation, scope of services rendered

Source: Adam Nowak, managing director of Ultimate Stay Vacation Homes Rental

The specs: 2018 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Price, base / as tested Dh99,000 / Dh132,000

Engine 3.6L V6

Transmission: Six-speed automatic

Power 275hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 350Nm @ 3,700rpm

Fuel economy combined 12.2L / 100km

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

'Nightmare Alley'

Director:Guillermo del Toro

Stars:Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara

Rating: 3/5


Euro 2020 qualifier

Fixture: Liechtenstein v Italy, Tuesday, 10.45pm (UAE)

TV: Match is shown on BeIN Sports

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