Microsoft Cloud datacenter regions now available in the UAE to help fuel the Middle East’s future economic ambitions

Arab men seated in a room.
  • New cloud regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai will accelerate digital transformation to help enable job creation, entrepreneurship and economic growth across the Middle East.
  • Scalability, performance, security, compliance, and data residency of Microsoft Cloud services will contribute to regional innovation

Today, Microsoft took a significant step in its support of digital transformation across the Middle East, as it launched two new cloud regions in the United Arab Emirates. These new regions – Microsoft’s first in the Middle East – will empower customers and partners to embrace the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and achieve more.

The new cloud regions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai join Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure – one of the largest and most secure in the world – to provide organizations, enterprises and developers in the UAE with access to scalable, highly available, and resilient cloud services while maintaining data residency, security and compliance needs. The new UAE locations will also deliver increased performance for Microsoft Cloud services to Middle East customers and partners.

“These new cloud regions in the UAE are the dawn of a new era, driving digital transformation, economic growth and job creation,” said Sayed Hashish, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf. “We are committed to empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. 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.”

Innovate with confidence

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 to help organizations overcome their business challenges. Office 365 empowers customers to get more done on any device, through cloud-based productivity solutions providing email, collaboration, conferencing, enterprise social networking and business intelligence. Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, offering the next generation of intelligent business applications and tools, are anticipated to be available from the cloud regions in the UAE by the end of 2019.

Microsoft provides expertise in data protection, security and privacy as well as the industry’s broadest set of compliance certifications to help customers manage compliance with supported industry standards and regulations such as ISO 27001/27018, SSAE 18 SOC, and GDPR. Data residency in the UAE will help enable government organizations and enterprises to comply with in-country regulatory frameworks and decrease the obstacles for cloud adoption. This allows, for example, public sector departments to revitalize their service delivery with the ability to improve data gathering, promote teamwork, portal development and analytics.

Regional organizations of all sizes from across all industries have placed their trust in the Microsoft Cloud. 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 Center. Entities from sectors such as government, aviation, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare are among those that are already benefiting from the new cloud regions. These include Dubai Airports, Etihad Airways, Mubadala Development Company, Mashreq Bank, The First Group, Network International, and Shelf Drilling.

A new era of governance

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

“To help meet the compliance needs of our customers, we have engaged very closely with the local authorities to ensure that our cloud services are compliant with relevant local standards and certifications, as well as the global and industry standards with which our services already comply. Microsoft would like to recognize the efforts made by the TRA, DESC and ADDA to ensure an enabling environment for datacenters and cloud services in the country,” said Hashish.

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. The International Data Corporation (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.

With a pool of Microsoft engineers, data scientists and experts contributing to the digital transformation journeys of Middle East customers and their migrations to the cloud, Microsoft continues to help bridge the skills gap amongst the IT community in the region and enhance their technical acumen for cloud services. 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 realize the business benefits of cloud and upskill them in migrating and managing their cloud infrastructures.

Opportunity for partners

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 bring a massive opportunity for partners in the Gulf to grow their revenues and customer bases. More than 1,800 certified Microsoft partners from the region will play a pivotal role in supporting government and private organizations to embark on their cloud journeys.

As a strategic partner, Etisalat is collaborating closely with Microsoft in line with its goal to provide end-to-end digital solutions to its customers and breadth of expertise in managed services. By offering cloud-based solutions to the country’s Government institutions, large enterprises, small-medium businesses, and start-ups, Etisalat is enabling them to drive digital transformation by migrating to the cloud faster. As one of the world’s leading telecom groups in emerging markets, Etisalat continues to focus on digital innovation to ‘Drive the digital future to empower societies,’ leading to investments in superior and state-of-the-art technology solutions on the network.

“Microsoft Cloud services delivered from the UAE are another milestone in the transformative journey our partners and customers are taking,” concluded Hashish. “We are looking forward to continuing our journey with them, committed to the growth of the region and the future employability of our young people.”

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