Khazna to add 160 MW of capacity in the UAE by 2023
This week, the United Arab Emirates’ largest data centre wholesaler, , announced a massive expansion of its operations, aimed at fuelling significant growth and transformation of the emirati digital economy.
Khazna currently operates three facilities, two of which are located in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai. Collectively, they have an IT load capacity of 40 MW.
The expansion project will see Khazna, in addition to increasing capacity at its existing facilities, embark on the construction of multiple new data centres across the country - likely in other major population centres like Sharjah and Al Ain.
A Spokesperson from Khazna revealed that, by 2023, the company will have expanded its total capacity to 200 MW, a 160 MW increase over its current capabilities, with a focus on enabling hyperscalers to operate in the country.
The UAE is one of the clear leaders in its region for efforts to digitally transform its economy. In 2019, the IMD’s World Digital Competitiveness Ranking report listed the country as first in the Arab region (and 12th globally).
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the emirati government accelerated its national digital transformation plans even further last year. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai commented at the time that, “Anyone who thinks that the world after COVID-19 will be the same as the one before it, is mistaken.”
The UAE has taken bold steps to both adopt new technologies and to attract technology investment to its shores. The country’s 5G rollout has continued apace with other global leaders, and AI-powered track and trace programs have done a lot for containing the spread of COVID-19 within the Emirates.
Khazna’s project is an indicator of just how much the country’s digital economy is likely to grow in the next four years.
“This significant expansion will support the economic ambitions of the UAE in the coming years,” said Hassan Al Naqbi, Khazna’s CEO earlier this week.
“The UAE government and private sectors are pressing ahead with digital transformation, which has gathered pace in the last year through necessity. The experience of remote working and the growth of online services during the global pandemic has underlined the importance of robust, state-of-the-art digital infrastructure. Demand for flexible, scalable and secure data storage is increasing rapidly, and this trend will continue as smart city and smart government projects gather momentum, cloud computing adoption grows and 5G networks are rolled out.”
Equinix: Digital leaders expect changes to working patterns
A global report released by Equinix has revealed that digital leaders expect long-term changes to the way people work.
As part of the report, the data infrastructure company surveyed 2,600 IT decision-makers from several different businesses spanning 26 countries in the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions. The study also highlighted the biggest technology trends affecting global businesses and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted digital infrastructure plans.
Talking about companies’ expansion strategies, Claire Macland, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Equinix, said: “Many companies are now investing more in their digital infrastructure to enable them to embrace a hybrid working model and thrive in the new world of work we all find ourselves in.
“Despite headwinds in many sectors, many organizations are continuing to expand physically and virtually into new markets and regions around the world”, she said.
The report drew the following conclusions:
- 64% of the 2,600 digital leaders surveyed believed there will be “long-term changes to both how and where people will work in the future.
- 57% of global companies intend to expand into new regions despite the effects of the pandemic
- 51% of businesses worldwide say they have rearchitected their IT infrastructure so that it can meet the demands of remote and hybrid working. Digital transformation has also been accelerated due to an increase in businesses’ technology budgets.
How might digital transformation be affected post-pandemic?
COVID-19 has demanded that companies make several changes to the way that they operate, including digital transformation. According to the study, 47% of those surveyed reported that they have accelerated their digital transformation plans because of the Coronavirus pandemic. A further 42% of organisations said their budgets have increased to keep up with the growth of digital transformation.
Another change in adapting to the pandemic was to businesses’ IT strategies with six in 10 companies saying that it has been revised in response to the situation. 58% said they are looking to invest in technology to “improve agility’ post-COVID.
When asked about their priorities for their digital strategy, 80% of respondents said that digitising their infrastructure was of utmost importance, while 57% viewed interconnection as a ‘key facilitator’ of digital transformation.
"This increasing focus on digitization and expansion is one of the reasons why Equinix has continued to invest in its own growth. We completed 16 new expansions in 2020—our most active build year ever—and expect to continue to evolve Platform Equinix to support our customers as they continue on their digital transformation journey”, said Claire Macland.
Potential concerns disperse over expansion plans being halted by COVID-19
The study has also revealed that organisations’ previous concerns that the pandemic will negatively affect their business expansion plans have been lessened.
57% of businesses have said that they “still have plans” to expand into new regions and of that percentage, nearly two-thirds (63%) plan to do so virtually instead of investing in physical IT infrastructure.
The full Equinix report can be found here.