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AWS launches Bahrain data centres and outlines plans for more

Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO Amazon.com (2).jpg

Amazon Web Services has launched data centres in Bahrain and announced plans for nine more so-called “availability zones” in Indonesia, Italy, and South Africa.

Although no further information was provided about the planned development in the three other regions, AWS revealed that its Bahrain development comprises three availability zones, each with “at least one data centre” in separate and distinct geographic locations.

“The cloud has the chance to unlock digital transformation in the Middle East,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “Today, we are launching advanced and secure technology infrastructure that matches the scale of our other AWS regions around the world and are already seeing strong demand in the Middle East for AWS technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, data analytics, IoT, and much more.”

Each Bahrain availability zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers can design their applications to run in multiple availability zones.

Government organisations in the Middle East, such as the Bahrain Information & E-government Authority (iGA) ⁠– which is responsible for ICT procurement and the migration project to support the country’s Cloud First policy – have begun working with AWS.

“Bahrain is committed to becoming a country in the cloud and we will be able to accelerate our journey with the launch of the AWS region in Bahrain,” said iGA’s chief executive, Mohammed Ali AlQaed. “By December of this year, we will have 30% of all 72 government entities migrated to AWS and by June 2020 we expect to have most government data centres shut down, while the rest are minimised allowing us to focus resources on projects that benefit our citizens and dramatically improve the overall availability and durability of government applications and data.”

Kuwait’s technology regulator, the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA), also welcomed the new AWS infrastructure. Salem Muthib Al-Athainah, chairman and CEO of CITRA, called it “an important step” in bringing reliable and secure cloud computing technologies closer to end users in the Middle East.

“This launch underlines the important location of the Middle East as a centre to the global data movement worldwide,” he said. “The presence of the AWS Middle East region opens up new prospects for companies and government organisations to serve customers in the region, contributing to the enhancement of infrastructure, digitisation, connectivity, and customer experience. Our significant work with AWS supports CITRA’s strategy of transforming Kuwait into a regional ICT hub, and the digitisation of the Kuwaiti economy, and we look forward to continue to build on that while leveraging the new AWS Middle East Region in Bahrain.”

According to research firm IDC's latest Middle East CIO survey, some 73% of organisations across the region are currently undergoing a formal digital transformation effort in 2019 and 24% are either about to start or planning to initiate their digital transformation journey.

“The region is undergoing a digital transformation mode where innovation and economic diversification will be reinforced by the growing utilisation of public cloud services,” commented Manish Ranjan, programme manager for software and cloud at IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “Cloud is the foundation of various emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, blockchain, IoT and enterprise mobility. It empowers organisations to benefit from greater flexibility, improved scalability, standardization, and agility.”

The Middle East and Africa region is one of the fastest growing markets for public cloud services. According to IDC, the total spending on public cloud services in the wider region crossed $1.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow at 27.2% a year over the next five years to reach $5.2 billion in 2023. IDC says Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain will each grow at 30% a year.

“The availability of AWS data centres in Bahrain will certainly strengthen the cloud services landscape in the Middle East and would play a pivotal role in driving innovation and digital transformation across sectors,” said Ranjan.

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