Microsoft has announced it is setting up two data centres in the UAE, in partnership with Etisalat.
The two data centres, the first ones by Microsoft in the region, will be located in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Initial availability is expected in 2019.
Microsoft can now deliver the Microsoft Cloud, comprising Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 from these data centres, while offering data residency options for customers.
Sayed Hashish, regional general manager for Microsoft Gulf, said the local data centres were a logical next step given the enormous opportunity that the cloud presents in the region, as well as the company’s growing cloud customer base.
“In areas like digital transformation, and the development of new intelligent services, our ambition is for the Microsoft Cloud to form a strategic part of the backbone for regional economic development.”
Over the last three years, Microsoft has more than doubled the number of Azure regions available. The new announcement expands Azure regions to 50 regions across the globe, which includes plans for 12 new regions.
Etisalat Digital, a business unit of Etisalat, is a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider, offering integrated connectivity with Microsoft ExpressRoute as well as private cloud services using Azure Stack. Etisalat is also providing consulting, migration and managed services to ensure the smooth transition of business customers to the cloud.
Salvador Anglada, chief business officer at Etisalat said the partnership with Microsoft fits into the telco’s existing capabilities, positioning Etisalat Digital a key partner for its customers’ digital transformation journey.
“The strength of Microsoft’s cloud combined with Etisalat’s own advanced infrastructure and reliable connectivity will be instrumental in accelerating cloud adoption in the UAE and the Middle East,” said Anglada.
Microsoft Cloud customers now include some of the biggest corporate names in the region, including Emirates Group, Emaar Properties, Etihad Airways, Majid Al Futtaim, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, Landmark Group, Daman Insurance, RAK Ceramics, Imdaad, Gulf Air, Viva, Kuwait Finance House and Dubai World Trade Centre.
An increasing number of start-ups in the region are also building their businesses on Microsoft Cloud. Approximately 4,000 start-ups have been supported through programmes like the Microsoft Virtual Academy and Microsoft’s Cloud Society initiative.
The integration of the Abu Dhabi and Dubai data centres with Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure will connect regional businesses with global opportunities, help accelerate new investments and job opportunities and improve access to cloud services for people and organisations across the Middle East, the company said.