IDC Research Shows Interest in Cloud Is Growing in the UAE as Organizations Search for Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings | About IDC | IDC CEMA

While the UAE is in the very early stages of cloud adoption, the amount of interest and activity is growing, which bodes well for the growth of cloud in the country. According to market research and advisory company IDC, the growing level of interest in cloud is primarily due to the benefits it offers in terms of operational efficiency and cost savings.

While very few local providers offer cloud services, and those that do are firmly in the early stages of portfolio development, IDC has noted a gradual softening of end-user attitudes toward cloud in recent times. "Since the recession began in 2008, IT departments have been under increasing pressure to justify their operational and capital expenditure," says Sony John, research manager for IT services at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. "As a result, they have started looking for more efficient means of delivering IT to their business users, which, in turn, has led to increased awareness of the opportunities offered by cloud computing."

The global attention that public cloud has generated, largely as a result of the cloud services offered by high-profile companies such as Google, Amazon, Rackspace, and Salesforce.com, has led many organizations in the UAE to start exploring the viability of using such services. While widespread adoption has been somewhat constrained by security fears and infrastructure limitations, many organizations now want to take advantage of the major benefits of cloud – such as the quick deployment of IT resources, shared resource usage, and the ability to monitor usage – but within the security of their own organizations, leading them naturally to the concept of private cloud.  

"This growing interest in cloud, especially private cloud, has contributed to the large-scale adoption of virtualization we've seen across the UAE," says John. "However, only a handful of organizations have gone the full distance in terms of converting these highly virtualized environments to full-fledged private cloud deployments. This is due to a variety of factors, including general misconceptions around the two concepts, and a lack of clarity on the benefits of going for a fully automated, fully metered private cloud. Another key inhibitor is the lack of empowerment provided to business users in the country, which stems from the rigid and hierarchical processes embedded in the fabric of most organizations in GCC countries.

The general preference for in-country datacenters and the desire to capitalize on investments have meant that much of the cloud expenditure in the UAE is currently on private cloud rather than public cloud. IDC expects this trend to continue in the near future. However, in the longer term, we expect public cloud to catch up in terms of adoption and expenditure, as more and more leading vendors and global cloud providers begin to push their public cloud offerings aggressively in the local market.

Cloud is also having a significant impact on the partner landscape, with new partners emerging, existing partners upskilling, and many local providers resisting the concept altogether. It is also creating new competitors in the IT services space, as telecom operators, niche ISVs, and wholesale datacenter providers all seek a foothold in the space. Cloud is also set to impact overall spending on IT services, cannibalizing some services while driving demand for others.

IDC expects total spending on cloud delivery in the UAE to record an increase of 33.6% year on year for 2012. In the long term, IDC projects spending to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 43.7% over the five-year forecast period ending in 2016.

The IDC study United Arab Emirates Cloud Services Market 2011 Analysis and 2012–2016 Forecast (IDC #ZS11U) presents a comprehensive view of the cloud delivery model in the UAE. It contains market sizing for both the public cloud and private cloud delivery models and offers a further breakdowns of public cloud-related revenue by operational management on the one side and by professional services associated with the cloud on the other. The study contains historic quantitative data and five-year market forecasts (2012–2016), summarizes the major issues and impacts on the IT industry as a whole, and presents a range of end-user views.