Middle East businesses need three years to adopt cloud computing

24 June 2010

Executives remain wary of new way of running software

It will take up to three years for Middle Eastern businesses to adopt the use of ‘cloud’ computing, according to a senior manager at US technology consultancy IDC.

Cloud computing is a system where software is run over the internet from remote servers in large data centres rather than from a computer’s hard drive or a mainframe server.

Middle Eastern companies are wary of the technology because of the challenges they create, says Jyoti Lalchandani, vice president and regional managing director at IDC.

“It’s how do you integrate cloud computing into your existing infrastructure,” he says. “Also, there is a worry that it is a buzz word and that the ecosystem [to support cloud computing] is not there yet.”

Chief information officers speaking at analyst group IDC’s IT Managers Forum in Dubai on 21 June told MEED they were not yet ready to adopt cloud computing. Concerns for regional businesses include pricing, skills, liability frameworks and security concerns.

IDC estimates that it could be three years before there is widespread adoption in the region as a result. Some large international organisations are moving ahead with plans to use the system as they look to make operations more efficient and cost effective.

“There are applications but it will take some time to mature,” Ahmad Almulla, vice president for IT at Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) told MEED on the sidelines of the conference. “There are aspects still to be put in place, such as licensing models and where the data is kept. What’s missing today is a proven way to transform your infrastructure into a cloud model.”

Dubal is currently adopting a system known as virtualisation, seen by consultants as a precursor to moving into cloud computing.

Using the virtualisation model, companies can move away from the idea of a single application being run on one server in a data centre and share resources by using the technology, according to IDC.

The system reduces the total number of servers required, consolidates management software and means systems run more efficiently. Further, fewer servers require less power, less cooling and take up less floor space, all reducing a company’s overheads.

It will be about two years before “mission critical” applications are moved onto virtual servers, Almulla says, adding that recently set up firms should find adoption of the technology easier.

”It’s easier for a new organisation, because they have no legacy applications,” he says “But we have transformation risk.”

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