The growth of data centers in the Middle East

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The Middle East is on the path of rapid cloud growth in the years to come. Various government initiatives across the region are reaffirming how promising the cloud landscape in the Middle East will be in the foreseeable future. Initiatives include the New Kuwait 2035 Nationwide Digital Roadmap and UAE 2021 Vision for a Fully Digitized Society, Bahrain’s Cloud First, which leverages cloud computing services, and the $ 18 billion plan to build a large network Data centers across Saudi Arabia.

Location is important

Organizations need to consider what they need from a data center and incorporate those requirements into their data center location strategy. Various data centers are being developed in the Middle East at prominent locations, especially within the GCC states. The rapid pace of development in network connectivity, government support and the proliferation of cloud, big data and IoT services have been strong drivers for the growth of the UAE data center industry. As data centers strive to provide efficiencies that can add value to customers, cooling is one of the toughest things to do in a hot and dry environment like the United Arab Emirates. The more advanced and efficient the cooling technology, the lower the electricity bill and the more environmentally friendly the data center becomes.

In cold climates such as Northern Europe and some parts of the US, data center providers rely on fresh air as the primary cooling source or use free cooling with chillers to compensate for the summer season. Here in the Middle East, however, it’s the other way around, with most data centers relying on the chiller almost 100 percent of the time.

Modern indirect evaporation technologies require only a third of the water supply compared to conventional economizers. They are available as individual devices without mechanical cooling. The Middle East is able to provide secure and resilient infrastructures to ensure minimal risk and maximum uptime.

Regulatory and legal framework

Cloud computing involves the distribution of data via servers located all over the world. The way the cloud crosses national boundaries carries potential risks by moving data to countries with restrictive data protection and data protection laws or allowing access to data from countries. There is no international consensus on data sovereignty, so countries are free to enact data protection and data hosting laws as leniently or strictly as they like. As a result, companies have to comply with several different legal systems if they want to transfer personal data across borders. While some GCC countries have successfully established comprehensive cloud computing frameworks that govern issues of data collection, data use, and data exchange at the state and interstate levels, others do not yet have effective regulations to address these issues.

The UAE government is relying on the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and Dubai Digital Authority to accelerate technological advancement and adopt the latest ICT initiatives to support the social and economic prosperity of businesses and individuals and the value of the digital economy to increase. With the right local knowledge, as well as the tools and partners ready to walk the path of digital transformation together, companies in the Middle East can be ready to face a fully digital future.

Hasan Al Naqbi is CEO at the Khazna Data Center

Read: Improving Power Consumption and Energy Efficiency in Data Centers


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