US-based technology firm Oracle expects to start operating two new data centres in Dubai and Jeddah over the next six months, according to Ahmed Adly, senior director, Technology Solutions Consulting, at the firm’s Middle East office.

The new data centres, along with an existing one in Abu Dhabi, will support regional clients transitioning to cloud-based services.

Having its own data centres will enable the firm to comply with the service level agreements (SLAs) it offers to clients. “There are multiple building blocks to a cloud solution, from the infrastructure and servers to the applications. It is important that we have control over every aspect of the service to guarantee … [service] availability,” Adly tells MEED.

The executive declined to disclose the value of the investments for each data centre facility.

Cloud adoption options

Adly says Oracle customers in the region can choose between two options when adopting cloud solutions.

The first is referred to as ‘rip and replace’, where an existing licence-based application such as a human resource system is completely replaced by a pay-per-use scheme.

The other approach, which is more popular among its Middle East clients, is a hybrid one where a licence-based system co-exists with a pay-per-use application.

Evolution

The increasing adoption of cloud-based services has meant technology providers like Oracle, which used to exclusively sell software licences and services, are taking on greater responsibility in the rollout of new systems.

Oracle’s cloud hub in Dubai, which has a 500-strong team, proves this. “The old model, apart from being capital intensive, requires our customers to hire, train and retrain staff, who might leave the company after a few years,” Adly tells MEED.

The cloud, which aims to move information technology (IT) systems from a capital- to an operational expense-based model, has the additional benefit of reducing the hiring requirement for new IT staff.

New cloud client

On 8 October, Oracle signed an agreement with Abu Dhabi General Administration of Customs for the implementation of its Human Capital Management (HCM) cloud application.

The system will enable the General Administration of Customs “to improve the employee experience by providing conversational assistance, making it easier than ever to get questions answered and tasks completed.”

Managers will also be able to easily review team goals and measure performance with self-service transactions using the new system.

The agency has 1,900 employees.

Data centre boom

Apart from Oracle, leading cloud services providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft either have an existing data centre or are building new ones across the region, particularly in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

AWS expects to complete the construction of its data centres in Bahrain by the end of this year.

The establishment of data centres in the region makes it easier for customers to migrate to cloud-based services, especially in light of uncertain data sovereignty regulations.

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