As we move ever closer to a fully digital world – especially in terms of the work arena – there are almost unimaginable amounts of data that need to be stored, kept and secured.
Data is often vital for business operations – sales data, projections, customer data and product data. It is generated all day, every day, and it all needs storing and protecting. Of course, it must also be accessible.
In fact, the GCC data centre sector is expected to reach a value of $5.5 billion by 2028 from $3.44 billion in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.14%, according to reports.
Companies – especially those working in sectors like healthcare, defence and government – have a higher need for security and so can find it hard to work out how and where to store their data.
Here in the UAE, the rapid rise of 5G, the creation of smart cities and the overarching desire of the Dubai government to develop a globally significant digital economy have all increased the need for massive data storage facilities.
Add in the rising importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and the paradigm shift to cloud-based business services, you know that the predicted growth rate I mentioned above is probably going to be surpassed.
Of course, given the sensitivity of a lot of data – from a customer, commercial and financial perspective – company storage is often simply not secure enough. Add in regulatory requirements for the safe and secure storage of data, and you begin to see how difficult the problem of storage can be.
Recent news of DAMAC’s investment in new data centres in Saudi Arabia underlines the need to always be aware of the wider trends in business.
DAMAC, of course, is a renowned and respected property developer, of which I am proud to be a part.
But property investment alone can leave such a large, well-established entity open to a degree of risk, and a forward-looking company should always look for opportunities to diversify and invest in emerging sectors.
With this in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that DAMAC identified a lack of reliable, secure and efficient data centres operating in the Middle East.
DAMAC has earmarked a $1 billion investment in its data centre division. This is a major commitment to building a global network of cloud data centres as it diversifies into the fast-growing digital sector.
Some $600 million is earmarked for two new data centres in Saudi Arabia.
DAMAC Data Centres will go live with facilities at Riyadh and Dammam by the end of this year, with an additional further 35 megawatts of capacity added to the 20 megawatts already under construction as a response to rapidly growing data needs.
Each facility will launch with 5 megawatts IT capacity in Q4 2023, followed by a further 5 megawatts in Q1 2024. Together, the two datacentres will provide 55 megawatts of IT capacity – that’s enough energy to power 450,000 average US households – by 2025.
Both the new centres are Uptime Institute Tier 3 certified – on a scale of 1 to 4, that’s a pretty impressive rating upon opening.
Tier 3 certification provides a clear picture of just what the data centres can offer. The Uptime Institute defines Tier 3 as a data centre with multiple paths for power and cooling and redundant systems that allow staff to work without needing to take anything offline. This tier has an expected uptime of 99.982% per year.
These are the first two of several data centre facilities planned across Saudi Arabia as DAMAC creates a network of data handling facilities that will serve local and regional needs.
These data centres are the beginning of a very exciting new chapter for DAMAC as it takes bold steps into this nascent arm of the digital world.