The advent of cloud, scale and hosted pay-as-you-grow services are finally upon us! The two major cloud providers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have put down large investments and opened datacentres in the Middle East.
In June this year, Microsoft brought online two United Arab Emirates (UAE) regions – in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, enabling government agencies and businesses to comply with local regulations, by providing data residency in the UAE for its Azure and Office 365 services. A little over a month later at the end of July, AWS announced the expansion of its global footprint with the opening of the AWS Middle East (Bahrain) Region. The announcement stated that ‘developers, start-ups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations can start using the new AWS Middle East Region to run applications and serve end-users across the Middle East.’
We are facing exciting times ahead with the launch of these public cloud providers in the Middle East, which will undoubtedly provide an impetus for regional companies to better integrate cloud into their strategies. Organizations will be more comfortable with consuming these services now that data sovereignty and security issues, which have been the main stumbling blocks in the past, are no longer a concern. We are facing exiting times with the advent of all these public providers.
Do these announcements sound the death knell for traditional hardware solution providers? No doubt analysts will be keeping a close eye on hardware sales in the next two to five years. I recently returned from Las Vegas where there was a large Public Cloud provider conference of over 60,000 delegates and I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised at the content and mindset of providers, customers and partners. One thing is clear – we are at an infliction point in IT. Any CXO returning from this event would have many questions about their IT services and I suppose their first priority would be to halt all procurement. Why would you want to incur huge costs to own and maintain your own datacentre, besides the operational and security challenges that go with it? The advantages of public cloud services have been well documented. But the answer is not that simple. As both, public and private cloud continue to mature in the region, many companies will opt for both, leveraging multiple clouds to satisfy their diverse enterprise computing needs. Multi-cloud combines on-premise operations with services and applications running on multiple cloud providers, which enables organizations to capture the benefits of each platform while mitigating their downsides.
In this heterogeneous environment, the main challenge now is managing the distributed data between all the clouds and centralising this management to ensure visibility regardless of where the data is residing.
The 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management report surveyed over 1,500 business leaders globally andfound that organizations are on a journey to become a more intelligent business, meaning they are leveraging technologies such as Cloud Data Management and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a real-time view of the collective business and the ability to act intelligently on that insight. Amongst the businesses on this journey, the study highlights four common components globally:
- Cloud: Cloud Data Management is a key component of delivering Intelligent Data Management. Three-quarters of companies report using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms. Many are utilizing the cloud for their backup and recovery services, with 51% using Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and 44% using disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). It is evident that leaders are recognizing the advantages of a multi-cloud and hybrid-based approach, citing cost, reliability, flexibility and data security of the cloud as their main reasons for choosing it.
- Capabilities: Organizations must enhance their capabilities, to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new technologies as they are deployed, with 9 out of 10 businesses viewing upskilling employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital success.
- Culture: Creating a culture that is adaptable and receptive to new technologies so that people can evolve with the organization is essential, with more than two-thirds of respondents believing that company culture needs to become more open and accepting to digital technologies.
- Confidence: Organizations must create a sense of confidence in the business’ digital capabilities, built on a strong data foundation. Presently, only a quarter of respondents report total confidence in their capability to meet their digital challenges.
What is clear from the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report, as well as the entry of the major global public cloud service providers in the region, is that the time for action is now. This starts with a strong digital foundation, which ensures that data is backed up and always available. With this in place, organizations can confidently deploy new digital initiatives, leveraging the business value and competitive advantage for today and into the future, and harness the potential of Cloud Data Management.