Microsoft opens two cloud datacentres in the UAE

New facilities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to enable customers maintain data residency and compliance

The new cloud datacentres will enable customers be more competitive, said Hashish.
The new cloud datacentres will enable customers be more competitive, said Hashish.

Microsoft has launched two new cloud datacentres in the United Arab Emirates.

The new datacentres (known as cloud regions) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai join Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure in providing organisations in the UAE with access to cloud services while maintaining data residency, security and compliance requirements. The new UAE locations will also deliver increased performance for Microsoft Cloud services to Middle East customers and partners.

“Now, more customers in the Middle East can move with confidence to the trusted and intelligent Microsoft Cloud. They will be more competitive as they start their digital transformation journeys – engaging customers, empowering employees, optimising operations, and reinventing products and services,” said Sayed Hashish, regional general manager, Microsoft Gulf.

Today, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365 are generally available from the new cloud regions in the UAE. Azure, an ever-expanding set of cloud services, offers computing, networking, databases, analytics, artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) services. Office 365 provides cloud-based productivity tools such as email, collaboration, conferencing, enterprise social networking and business intelligence. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, Microsoft’s ERP, CRM and BI products, are anticipated to be available from the cloud regions in the UAE by the end of 2019.

Microsoft offers a set of compliance certifications to help customers manage compliance with industry standards and regulations such as ISO 27001/27018, SSAE 18 SOC, and GDPR. Data residency in the UAE will enable government organisations and enterprises to comply with in-country regulatory frameworks and decrease obstacles to cloud adoption.

Microsoft Cloud continues to grow its regional customer base. These include the Emirates Group, Emaar Properties, Majid Al Futtaim, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Landmark Group, Abu Dhabi Global Markets (ADGM), Miral, Daman Insurance, RAK Ceramics, Imdaad, Gulf Air, Viva, Kuwait Finance House, and Dubai World Trade Centre. Dubai Airports, Etihad Airways, Mubadala Development Company, Mashreq Bank, The First Group, Network International, and Shelf Drilling are already leveraging the new cloud regions, the company said.

Microsoft has been working with Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA) and Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) to enable compliant adoption of cloud services by the UAE government and semi-government entities. Microsoft is the first cloud service provider in the UAE to achieve DESC’s Cloud Service Provider certification.

Job creation, economic growth and skills building

Microsoft also anticipates the cloud services delivered from the UAE to have a positive impact on job creation, entrepreneurship and economic growth across the region. IDC predicts that cloud computing and the Microsoft ecosystem is set to bring more than half a million jobs to the Middle East, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE between 2017 and 2022. The World Bank has reported that for every job created in technology, more than four jobs are created across all occupation and income groups.

Through Microsoft Cloud Society, which has trained over 150,000 IT professionals in the Middle East & Africa, companies will further benefit from the increased availability and performance of cloud services delivered from UAE to help realise the business benefits of cloud and upskill them in migrating and managing their cloud infrastructures.

In past research, IDC found that the Microsoft partner ecosystem earns more than $9 (USD) for every $1 (USD) of Microsoft revenue.  The new cloud regions in the UAE are expected to increase opportunities for 1,800 certified Microsoft partners from the region partners in the Gulf to grow their revenues and customer bases.

Microsoft’s strategic partner in the UAE, Etisalat, is offering cloud-based services to the country's Government institutions, large enterprises, small-medium businesses, and start-ups, enabling them to migrate to the cloud faster.

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