Oracle opens its first data centre in the Middle East

Public cloud services market in Mena is projected to double by 2020

Illuminated computer equipment in server room. Getty Images
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Oracle opened a data centre in Abu Dhabi, its first in the Middle East, to offer cloud storage to customers across the region.

“By locating a data centre in the UAE, we will be able to better manage service levels and respond to local customers, who, for data governance requirements and other reasons, need to keep their data local,” said Arun Khehar, senior vice president of business applications, Middle East and Africa, at Oracle.

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer network.

The public cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa is projected to grow to $1.9 billion (Dh7.97bn) by 2020, double what it was in 2016, according to Statista.

Oracle, whose local clients include First Abu Dhabi Bank and DP World, reported more than $11bn in global revenue from its cloud applications business in fiscal year 2018. Etisalat, one of the region’s leading telecommunications groups, is the telecom partner for Oracle’s data centre in the capital. 

“Our collaboration with Oracle complements very well the existing capabilities of Etisalat Digital,” said Miguel Villalonga, vice president of cloud and data centre at Etisalat Digital. It will help to accelerate regional cloud adoption to further empower government and commercial entities in the region, he added.

Several global players are establishing data centres in the Middle East. Amazon Web Services will be opening at least three data centres in Bahrain this year and Microsoft has announced it will set up data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the coming months.

SAP is the front-runner in the race with three centres in the region in Dubai, Riyadh and Dammam, which house servers for local cloud computing clients. Comparatively a smaller player, Alibaba Cloud – cloud computing arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant – opened its first regional data centre in Dubai in 2016.

For regional enterprises, moving their operations to a cloud hosted by a specialised company, such as Oracle or Microsoft, is proving cheaper than creating their own infrastructure of servers, hardware and security networks. It also brings down the overall cost of ownership.