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AWS launches Mideast cloud region

MANAMA: Amazon Web Services (AWS) yesterday launched its Middle East cloud region in Bahrain, less than two years after announcing a multi-million dollar investment in Manama.

The company, based in Seattle, US has said developers and businesses can now access the “hyper scale infrastructure” in Bahrain which includes three availability zones and connects the Middle East to its global network.

This takes the number of AWS availability zones around the world to 69 within 22 geographic regions, while nine more zones across three more regions – Indonesia, Italy and South Africa – are in the pipeline.

The Bahrain region expands the company’s global footprint, enabling customers to run applications and serve end-users from data centres located in the Middle East, and also leverage advanced cloud technologies.

AWS regions are composed of availability zones, which each comprise at least one data centre and are located in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications.

Each availability zone has independent power, cooling and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks.

Stating that the “advanced and secure technology infrastructure” launched yesterday “matches the scale of our other AWS regions around the world, AWS chief executive Andy Jassy said the cloud has the chance to unlock digital transformation in the Middle East, where it was already seeing strong demand for AWS technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics and Internet of Things.

“We are excited to see how our cloud technology will provide new ways for governments to better engage with citizens, for enterprises to innovate for their next phase of growth, and for entrepreneurs to build businesses and compete on a global scale,” he added.

AWS customers and partners across the Middle East include Al Tayer Group, Anghami, Aramex, Bahrain Bourse, Careem, Dubizzle, Emirates NBD, Flydubai, MBC Group, OSN, Seera Group, Union Insurance and Virgin Middle East, it said.

Public sector organisations including the ministries of education, finance and national economy, information affairs, labour and social development and the Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA), Tamkeen, Mumtalakat, in Bahrain, as well as Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority of Kuwait are also using AWS to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and better serve citizens.

“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 chief executive Mohammed Ali Al Qaed.

“By December, we will have 30 per cent 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.”

Another example of a government entity that turned to the agility and speed of AWS is National Bureau of Revenue (NBR), who needed to quickly and efficiently launch the country’s Value Added Tax (VAT) system.

Rana Faqihi, assistant under-secretary for development and revenue policies, said, “The NBR needed a solution that would enable a seamless VAT rollout, without delays and with the highest levels of security. By launching SAP S/4 Hana on AWS, the NBR was able to go to market in just under two months while lowering costs by 40pc.”

Yesterday also saw the launch of a new AWS Direct Connect location in Bahrain, which is the first to be operated by the company, joining two such locations and two Amazon CloudFront Edge locations in the UAE that launched in 2018.

AWS Direct Connect makes it easy for customers to establish a dedicated private network connection between AWS and their data centre, office or colocation environment.

To support the growth in cloud adoption across the region, AWS said it has made significant investments in education, training, and certification programmes in latest cloud computing technologies, best practices and architectures.



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