The Dubai Marina area at night as seen from the Princess Tower. Photo credit: Ben Mack
As the Middle East accelerates its digital transformation and smart cities growth, regional data centre spending and investment is expected to reach a new record high of US$5 billion by 2020, industry experts say.
Middle East and North Africa data centre spending is predicted to hit US$5.1 billion by 2020 – an 8.5 percent increase from 2017 – according to a recent report by market research firm Statista. The report predicts much of this spend will go towards enabling smart cities, which just so happens to align with the GITEX Technology Week theme of “Experience Future Urbanism.”
Savitha Bhaskar, chief operating officer of Condo Protego, a United Arab Emirates-based IT infrastructure and information management consultancy business and solutions provider, argues data centre modernisation ranks as one of the top digital business priorities for regional CEOs in the next two years. Bhaskar claims that such modernisation will enable new digital business models.
“Record-high Middle East data centre spend shows that regional CEOs understand that modernising IT infrastructure can deliver a competitive advantage and enable smart cities,” she explains. “GITEX (short for ‘Gulf Information Technology Exhibition’) is an ideal platform to showcase how modernised IT can lead to real-time insights for better customer and citizen engagement, new revenue streams, and greater efficiency and data protection.”
There are some stats to back up Bhaskar’s claims. No fewer than 81 percent of IT decision-makers agree that without IT transformation, their organisations will no longer be competitive, according to a recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) global survey commissioned by Dell EMC and Intel.
Data centre modernisation can integrate servers, storage, information management, and data protection, and is an ongoing process rather than a one-off investment. In the Middle East, Bhaskar says there is strong demand for the Dell EMC PowerMax solution, claimed to be the world’s fastest storage array built for mission-critical applications.
“Data center modernisation is also the foundation for the Middle East’s organisations and smart cities to adopt emerging innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and the Internet of Things,” explains Bhaskar.