Microsoft Opens First Data Centres in the Middle East  

Microsoft Opens First Data Centres in the Middle East  

UAE to host first two Micrsoft data centres in the Middle East

Microsoft has selected the UAE to open its first two data centres in the Middle East to meet the demand of a fourfold spending increase in cloud services forecast for the region between 2017 and 2022.

With new data centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Microsoft’s global network has reached 55 and it will be launching eight more in the coming months.

The investment in data storage in Saudi Arabia and the UAE - the Arabian Gulf's two largest economies - is set to rise to more than Dh1.5 billion in 2022, according to Massachusetts researcher International Data Corporation.

“There is a huge scope for cloud business ... with new data centres driving digital transformation, economic growth and job creation in the region,” Sayed Hashish, general manager for Microsoft Gulf said.

Without divulging the exact amount Microsoft invested in UAE data centres, Mr Hashish said: “We are investing billions of dollars across our data centres. Huge demand is giving us confidence to invest.”

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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.

“As all data stays in the UAE, it will enable government organisations to comply with local regulatory frameworks,” Mr Hashish added.

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

Microsoft’s technology and cloud services together will help create more than 110,000 jobs in Saudi Arabia and UAE by the end of 2022, according to IDC, with jobs in data science, blockchain architecture and AI.

With this announcement, Microsoft has become the first of the ‘Big Three’ cloud providers to open a data centre in the Middle East, beating out Amazon and Google.

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