Microsoft estimates that the size of the Kingdom’s cloud computing market is about SAR 108.75 billion. This number is expected to increase, driven by a strong trend from government agencies in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of this technology to meet the digital transformation objectives and help achieving the Saudi Vision 2030. The recent regulatory framework for cloud computing, announced by the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission, will contribute towards the knowledge economy, and will also lead to more investments in this technology.
Dr. Mamdouh Najjar, national technology officer at Microsoft Arabia, predicted that cloud computing in the Kingdom would grow more rapidly than the global average to reach 25% annually by 2020. This growth will foster a clear regulatory environment, an urgent need for updates, and utilizing more sophisticated cloud computing tools, such as artificial intelligence among others, to support the Kingdom’s journey to become a hub of technical innovation in the region.
Dr. Najjar added: “Microsoft provides its services and solution for more than 2,000 private and public organizations in the kingdom, and by introducing Azure Stack through our partners, Sahara Net and Lenovo, our customers will get the advantage of using the hybrid cloud computing services, to enhance their businesses and achieve their strategic goals”.
“This collaboration and investment with our partners, Microsoft and Lenovo, is an exciting move in the Saudi cloud services market,” said Kais Al-Essa, vice president, sales and marketing, at Sahara Net. “Since its inception, Sahara Net has been keen on providing a sophisticated and secure cloud services environment inside the Kingdom, to maintain the national information security. We were delighted on the launch of the new cloud computing regulatory, that have implemented some of what we have been advocating for years, with regard to the importance of keeping content within the Kingdom. Adding Azure Stack to the Sahara Net data centre reinforces our mission to serve all sectors in the Kingdom, and our support for Saudi Vision 2030. This will enhance our current leadership of this market and enable us to expand regionally to serve more customers”.
“Today’s announcement is a significant signal to Lenovo and Microsoft clients looking to adopt a hybrid cloud infrastructure on a system they can trust,” said Abdullah AlQallaf, sales manager for KSA, Lenovo Data Center Group. “We deployed the Azure Stack for Sahara Net for the first time in Saudi Arabia with Lenovo ThinkAgile SX that provides a turnkey, rackscale solution optimized with a resilient, high-performing, and secure software-defined infrastructure.”
“It is also supported by Lenovo ThinkAgile Advantage, a unique support service that offers ThinkAgile customers deployment, configuration and training assistance to dramatically increase time to value – from weeks, to just hours. Customers are also provided with a direct line of communication to ThinkAgile support technicians for streamlined hardware and software troubleshooting. Lenovo experts and technicians are available to partner with customers as a single-point-of contact throughout the entire support process,” he added.
Speaking about Azure Stack, which is an extension of Microsoft’s Azure product, Mohammed Radwan, Cloud and Enterprise Business Group Lead at Microsoft Arabia, said that Azure Stack allows customers to use the Hybrid Cloud quickly and easily, from cloud computing to local environments. The new product will also allow customers to deliver Azure services from their data centers, balancing the appropriate amount of flexibility and control for the deployment of a consistent hybrid cloud.
Radwan added, “The capabilities of this product are demonstrated by providing cloud computing services through having the storage center inside the costumer data center, and enabling a rapid development of related applications, unifying application development across the entire hybrid cloud environment, and facilitating the transfer of applications and data through private and public storage clouds. Customers in the Kingdom can acquire Microsoft Azure Stack technologies through its partners specialized in providing product-specific computers such as Lenovo, HP, Dell EMC, Cisco and Huawei”.