Reuven Cohen| Forbes

As cloud computing technology reaches a saturation point in North America many in the space are beginning to look at other markets to supplement growth prospects. According to IDC, the Middle East could be the next major market to adopt cloud computing. A recent report by IDC expects total spending on cloud delivery in Saudi Arabia to increase 34.86 percent year on year in 2012 with long term spending to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 49.7 percent between 2012 and 2016.

In a story published in the Saudi Gazette, Hamza Naqshbandi, senior research analyst for IT services with IDC Saudi Arabia said, “Organizations across the kingdom have traditionally preferred to manage their IT operations internally, however, there has been growing interest in outsourcing models, with organizations increasingly using hosting and managed services. This growing adoption of outsourcing services is seen as a first step toward moving to a cloud-based model, as companies become more comfortable with the concept of remote services delivery.”

Another great example of the opportunities found in the region is the January announcement from Virtustream that it has partnered with Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), the largest telecom operator in the Middle East and Africa to provide cloud services. The joint partnership will provide enterprise cloud services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) as well as other parts of the region with a suite of cloud based tools and services. The public and hybrid cloud services will be jointly provided by Mobily and Virtustream and will offer world-class cloud services to enterprises and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs).

“The Mobily/Virtustream cloud platform provides enterprise-class cloud services in the Middle East,” said Dr. Marwan al Ahmadi, chief business officer at Mobily. “We look forward to working with Virtustream to provide our customers with best-in-class enterprise cloud solutions that are the first of their kind in the KSA market.” Virtustream isn’t alone in the market.

Global data storage and network specialists like Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard, EMC, Germany‘s Siemensor Japan’s NEC have also entered market to try to take advantage of the opportunities found in the region. China’s Huawei is making major moves as well. It recently launched in Dubai a mobile cloud center which will provide a variety of cloud and data center services to companies in the region.

Even with signifcant foreign investment in the market, cloud computing in the Middle East is still in its early stages. If you know of any interesting cloud related companies or projects in the region, please post in the comments area below.


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