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The data centre sector in the Middle East: What next?

The data centre sector in the Middle East: What next?

Data CentresInsightsMiddle EastPower & CoolingTop Stories

Data centres are often referred to as ‘powerhouses’ and it’s no surprise when we consider their capabilities. Ehab Kanary, Vice President of Enterprise for EMEA, CommScope, discusses how data centres will power our future as well as how they are developing in the Middle East region.

Connectivity is laying the foundations for one of the most significant shifts in society in generations. Businesses must adapt when it comes to scaling up or down to keep in line with market requirements. How then can organisations across a multitude of industries understand and harness these new opportunities enabled by connectivity? In education and healthcare services, for example, IT leaders are rethinking business models. 

Networking technologies have moved from convenient to essential, for both business and personal use. With students expecting complete and easy access to information, data and applications whether they’re working on campus or at home, investing to ensure the connectivity and secure delivery of data across the network will be a critical next step for many universities competing to offer the best student experience.

The healthcare services industry is undergoing a Digital Transformation, with new business models being introduced to improve operational efficiency and deliver a better patient experience. Mobile banking services and applications have quickly grown in popularity.

By 2022, more than 90% of enterprises worldwide will be relying on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs. The year 2021 is expected to be the year of multi-cloud, with the enterprise deploying combinations of on-premise, off-premise, public and private clouds as the default environment, according to the latest research by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Under increasing pressure to stay relevant and keep up with rapidly advancing technologies, data centre providers are seeing a need to transform and prepare for what’s to come.

How data centres will power our future

As we head into 2021, the outcomes of the adoption of both newer and more mature technologies will start to take shape in the data centre.

A leading United Arab Emirates telecom operator recently announced the rollout of 5G home Internet service, following its 5G mobile network deployment in 2019. With more subscribers accessing super fast speeds on 5G fixed networks from their homes, the design of data centres will be altered as well as the role they play in the larger network. 

For example, user-centric networks involve pushing the compute and storage resources closer to the users and connected devices. 

Now, more than ever, the data centre is considered the nexus of the network. For enterprises, telco carriers, cable operators and, more recently, service providers like Google and Facebook, the data centre was the heart and muscle of IT. In addition, the emergence of the cloud has emphasised the central importance of the modern data centre.

Networks are now scrambling to determine how best to support huge increases in Edge-based traffic volume as well as the demand for single-digital latency performance – without torpedoing the investment in existing data centres. But what about the data centres? What role will they play?

The future business case for hyperscale and cloud-scale data centres lies in their massive processing and storage capacity. As activity heats up on the Edge, the data centre’s power will be needed to create the algorithms that enable the data to be processed. In an IoT-empowered world, the importance of Augmented Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) cannot be understated. Neither can the role of the data centre in making it happen.

Taking a holistic approach to continual high-speed migration

The continual journey to higher speeds in the data centre is a step-process; as applications and services evolve, storage and server speeds must also increase. Adopting a patterned approach to handle the repeated periodic upgrades can help reduce the time and cost needed to plan and implement the changes. We recommend a holistic approach in which switches, optics and fibre cabling operate as a single coordinated transmission path. Ultimately, how all these components work together will dictate the network’s ability to reliably and efficiently support new and future applications. Today’s challenge is 400G; tomorrow, it will be 800G and 1.6T. The fundamental requirement for high-quality fibre infrastructure remains constant, even as network technologies continue to change.

Growth of data centres in the Middle East

Data centres in the Middle East are gaining momentum. The construction of traditional brick-and-mortar facilities is also growing along with the rising development of modular facilities. Countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are attracting significant investments in recent years, according to the June 23 study by ResearchAndMarkets.com.

Whether it’s a hyperscale data centre, a player focused on the Edge, or an infrastructure provider, in the next-generation network there will be plenty of room – and work – for everyone. The slices are not getting smaller; the pie will only become larger.

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