Once you accept that the shift to cloud data storage is inevitable, one real question remains: How do you invest in the right cloud storage?
Of course, you have to accept The Cloud Storage Future first. Not every organization in the Gulf region yet has.
This post is here to help, with a look at why cloud storage is inevitable, how Gulf countries are adapting, and how to be prepared.
Let’s start with why almost every organization will eventually use cloud storage.
It’s a bit like virtualization. Back in the 20th Century, virtualization was a novel concept that seemed to involve too much complexity and magic. Even in 2006, it was a hard sell. Now, almost every organization is running virtual machines, and saving lots of money in the process.
Today, cloud storage has risk-averse IT managers wondering – Is it secure? What if my provider is attacked or goes out of business? What if the service has outages?
These are all valid questions. But so much data being created today, and even more expected in future, cloud is the only way to meet storage challenges.
In Gulf countries, cloud storage reluctance is currently mixed with a lack of cloud readiness. Microsoft has commented that cloud skills in the region need to improve if digital transformation goals, which will create “a surge in demand for cloud specialists”, are to be reached. Governments were also slower to adopt public and hybrid cloud than elsewhere, according to past Gartner research.
Yet change is accelerating in the region.
Many organizations are now focused on digital transformation, according to IDC, leading to growth in the Middle East’s cloud and datacenter market. Tech titans, including AWS, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are “lining up” to build cloud-enabling datacenters in the region.
“In the long term, we can expect both Saudi Arabia and the UAE to host multiple cloud providers, who will aggressively compete against each other to gain market share,” says Gartner.
Does the shift to cloud mean you have to replace your current storage and make a new investment?
The answer is no! – for two reasons.
Firstly, if your current storage is relatively modern then it might already support cloud. For example, a huge range of IBM storage is capable of running IBM Spectrum Virtualize. That means it can connect to public cloud data centers.
Secondly, even if your current storage isn’t cloud ready, you don’t have to throw it out.
Modern, cloud-ready storage controllers are designed to virtualize traditional storage from many different vendors – Spectrum Virtualize supports over 450 systems. This means you can add cloud capability while keeping your existing investment. No “rip and replace” here.
So, that’s double good news. Cloud storage capabilities are much more accessible and affordable than you may have realized. Your existing investments are also protected.
Now to get back to the important question – how do you invest in the right cloud storage? As usual, it’s all about understanding the options and choosing the best fit for your needs.
There are many different solutions available, offering various levels of performance, scalability and efficiency. At GBM, our storage experts can discuss your needs with you and help you plan the right storage strategy.
But it’s also about being ready for the future.
Cloud computing itself is evolving. Today, organizations are favoring hybrid cloud infrastructure. Hybrid cloud integrates on-premises, private cloud and public cloud resources together as one seamless infrastructure. This is much easier to manage, and gives you more power and flexibility to move data between the cloud and the datacenter as needed.
Multi-cloud is a step on from hybrid. Multi-cloud means having the ability to connect multiple clouds, and to easily move data and workloads between them. This gives you even more scale and flexibility, including to choose the best and most economical provider for each job. Using multi-cloud means managing many network connections and requires specialist storage and infrastructure solutions now – but it will be commonplace in the future.
However, the biggest consideration might be ROI.
Cloud storage needs to deliver real value to earn its place in your business. Some solutions, including those from IBM, include meters that calculate the savings compared to traditional storage. GBM can also help you analyze your current costs and reduce them with cloud storage.
As more businesses see the value for themselves, and as the Gulf region becomes primed for cloud, this shift to cloud storage – both hybrid and multi – is only likely to accelerate.
If you would like an informal chat about these trends, please contact me.
© 2023 Gulf Business Machines
Sr. Director & Chief Security Officer
Palo Alto Network
Mr. Haider Pasha is Sr. Director and Chief Security Officer for EMEA & LATAM at Palo Alto Networks. Prior to this role, Mr. Pasha spent 5 years at Symantec working as CTO and Systems Engineering Director for Emerging Markets. He has been partnering with CISOs across the industry, executing together on a multi-year architecture strategy across the geography including Cloud Transformations, Autonomous SOC, and Application-Centric Networking. He is a trusted advisor to Palo Alto’s strategic customers and partners, helping them become more competitive and innovative while enhancing their Cyber Resilience Strategy. A key area of specialty for Mr. Pasha is around architecting Security Operations Centers (SOC), designing Threat Intelligence Platforms, and helping customers adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and local government regulations. Prior to joining Symantec, Mr. Pasha spent 15 years at Cisco covering various senior positions in Silicon Valley and as CTO for Cisco Africa.
Mr. Pasha completed his MBA from Manchester Business School, UK and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Purdue University, USA. Mr. Pasha’s successes come from being able to bind advanced technical concepts to commercial, people and process requirements, while maintaining a balanced perspective with the business objective in mind. He is also Palo Alto Networks go-to public Security spokesperson.
Director – Compliance & Support Alliances
Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC)
Amer Sharaf is the Director of Compliance Support and Alliances at the Dubai Electronic Security Center based in the Emirates of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Amer has accumulated a diverse set of skills in his career in the Information Technology field successfully delivering key applications and infrastructure related projects.
His experience also extends to deploying resilient and highly available data centers catering to key critical systems. Amer has considerable experience on city level systems and adopting several disruptive technologies and ensuring that key security principles and technologies are adopted.
General Manager, GBM Abu Dhabi
As the General Manager for GBM Abu Dhabi and Yemen, Miguel Khouri has a track record for strengthening and enriching relationships with a wide-range of customers and industries.
With over two decades in IT Consultancy, Business Management, and Business Development across the GCC, Khouri’s leadership has consistently delivered business growth for GBM Abu Dhabi. His guidance in value-added IT and business solutions provides tangible results for a host of public and private clients in the government, banking and finance, telecommunications, oil and gas, education and retail sectors.
As General Manager, Khouri has nurtured GBM Abu Dhabi local expertise and in-depth knowledge of the market, and has helped to develop a collaborative network of offices across the region that enables clients to benefit from best-in-class IT consultancy.
Prior to joining GBM Abu Dhabi as General Manager in 2011, Khouri was the Director of GBM’s Intelligent Networking Solutions (INS) for the entire region.
Earlier to that, Khouri worked for 8 years with Saudi Business Machines.
Miguel holds a Bachelor degree from University of Balamand in Lebanon, where he majored in Computer Engineering.
Senior Cybersecurity Director – EMEA
Service Providers and Middle East & Africa
Global Security Sales Operations, Cisco
As Senior Cybersecurity Director for EMEA SPs and MEA, Fady’s role is to focus on delivering Cisco’s vision of integrated cybersecurity for Cisco’s customers and partners, overseeing the day-to-day business and driving growth plans across the region.
Fady focuses on empowering customers, including Service Providers, Government and Private entities, to securely create and deliver value as every country, city and company becomes increasingly digital and migrates to the cloud.
Fady is a Cisco veteran with a proven track record of delivering sales across the region for more than 17 years. He has worked in several roles including East Region Operations Director for Cisco Middle East, General Manager for Cisco UAE, Enterprise Sector Regional Sales Manager and Service Provider Sector (Telcos) Regional Sales Manager.
Prior to joining Cisco, he was Regional Manager at Nortel (MEA), and Product Manager at Ericsson and held international long-term assignments in Sweden, Greece, Indonesia and Egypt.
Fady holds a BE degree in Computer & Communication Engineering from the American University of Beirut.
Regional Technology Director | Middle East & Turkey
Melih Kirkgoz is the Regional Technology Director covering Middle East & Turkey Regions and based in Fortinet Dubai Office.
He is the technology evangelist and spokesperson within the region.Also a member of the elite “Office of the CTO” consultants group led by Fortinet President and CTO Michael Xie himself since 2015.
In this prestigious role he helps to shape company core technologies roadmap acting as a bridge between the field and Fortinet R&D and Product Management.
His highly focused and advanced Cyber Security Career (22+ years) is spread over different roles requiring diverse skills:
VP Security Sales, IBM MEA
Head of Cyber Security
United Arab Emirates Government
Dr. Al Kuwaiti is appointed into the Cabinet as the Head of the Cyber Security for the UAE Government since 2020. As the Head of the Cyber Security, his mandate includes being the Chairman of the UAE Cyber Security Council as well as Managing Director of the National Data Centre under the Supreme Council for National Security. As the Head of Cyber Security for the UAE Government by investiture, Dr. Al Kuwaiti has legal authority over all aspects pertaining securing the cyberspace for the entire Nation.
In his current role, Dr. Al Kuwaiti is tasked with the responsibility of charting a cyber security strategy for the Nation that not only ensuring that the UAE will be entering into the digital era with fully capable of dealing with the new threat landscape brought about by the pandemic, but also to ensure UAE’s leadership in cyber security globally towards establishing the UAE as the world’s leading trusted digital hub supporting the Nation’s digital transformation agenda and the digital future of all residents who made UAE their home. Towards that end, he led the Council to put together an implementation plan to protect the UAE cyberspace through emerging technologies such as Cloud, Big Data and AI in a wholeof-government approach coordinating and orchestrating efforts between Emirates or government entities via a unified platform built and managed by the Council.
Founder & CEO
Coordinates Middle East
Tarek is the Architect and CEO of Coordinates – A leading Cybersecurity Managed Detection & Response firm in the Middle East, now part of GBM.
Powered by machine learning, automation & orchestration, Cor, Coordinates’ platform enables the seamless integration of any technology to provide defense-grade services to enterprises of all sizes.
The company platform enables Automation and Orchestration of the entire cybersecurity lifecycle across Monitoring, Detection, Response & Remediation.
Between 2004 and 2014, Tarek was the Managing Director at Cisco, where he led the strategic direction, investment, and overall execution of Cisco’s total business in the region.
Before Cisco, Tarek had a career with Schlumberger and 3Com in various executive leadership roles.
Tarek has been voted twice as the top Networking and Communication Executive in MENA and MENA’s 6th most powerful technology executive.
General Manager, GBM Dubai
Ossama El Samadoni is the General Manager of GBM Dubai. He has over 30 years of experience working in the region. He has a prominent track record in strengthening business growth in an increasingly competitive market, while supporting organizations of all sizes to navigate digital disruptions and IT transformation challenges.
Samadoni holds a B.Sc. in Engineering and MBA in Marketing, is fluent in Arabic and English, and is the Vice Chairman of SNIA Middle East.
Vice President of Digital Infrastructure Solutions,
Hani Nofal is an ICT executive with more than 25 years of industry and leadership experience in the region. He held several roles in global organizations including Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq, 3Com and Cisco Systems.
Hani joined GBM in January 2012. Since then, he’s been part of the executive team and currently leads GBM’s Digital Infrastructure and Cyber Security business across the Gulf and Pakistan. He’s responsible for the development of regional and global alliances delivering solutions that support organizations to realize their digital transformation agendas and protect them from cyber threats.
Prior to joining GBM, Hani was Cisco’s Senior Regional Manager. During his tenure at Cisco, Hani supported the company’s rapid growth and expansion in the UAE and Gulf and was responsible for several strategic successes in the region, achieving significant agreements and milestones.
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