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Opportunity knocks for hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud deployments accelerate in Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19, and the remote work boom

2 JUNE 2021

Remote work. We are all still adjusting to it, sitting behind our desks on conference calls with kids yelling in the background, pets coming in at inappropriate times, and easy access to the fridge. 

Despite the downsides to working from home, what we may not know is that our lock-down and the COVID-19 crisis accelerated the adoption of cloud computing and digital transformation across Saudi Arabia.

Because we are now working from home, companies have had to open up their applications for remote access, and they need secure, flexible storage options for their applications, data and more. Because of this rapid adoption, hybrid cloud is the focal point for the future of cloud computing right now in Saudi Arabia. 

According to the IDC, over 25% of enterprises in Saudi Arabia have plans in place to deploy on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs. Sometimes they use a mix of all three - or as we like to call it, hybrid cloud.

"As the reliance on multiple workloads hits a new high, accelerated by the global COVID-19 outbreak, IDC expects to see more and more organisations across the Kingdom embracing multi-cloud," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC's Country Manager for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "Uncertain market realities caused by the pandemic situation are forcing organisations to reevaluate their cybersecurity exposure as they pivot from a 'cloud-last' to a 'cloud-also' mindset. The most important aspect of this paradigm shift is going to be around how to stay responsive to customer needs, how to scale in a safe and secure manner, and how to facilitate the transition of work from an office desk to the home."

However, the Kingdom still faces a few challenges in deploying cloud computing. These include; insufficient cloud migration capabilities, multi-cloud management challenges, security concerns, the use of legacy applications and infrastructure, a lack of skills, and difficulties finding the right partners, according to IDC.

Our tech mega-event LEAP, in February 2022, will investigate the problems that enterprise hybrid cloud solves, and how companies are addressing its perceived problems. Tune into the LEAP keynote speeches to learn more about how tech developments such as hybrid cloud are streamlining businesses and making it possible to work successfully from anywhere in the world.

With these challenges in mind, the hybrid cloud model does seem beneficial to the Saudi market and may, in effect, reduce a few of these challenges.

One Size Does Not Fit All Clouds 

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, a catchphrase that should be used for cloud computing models!

The Enterprise Hybrid cloud allows companies to diversify their cloud portfolios. While accessing the benefits of public cloud - pay-per-use, and on-demand scalability - they can maintain private clouds to avoid vendor and platform lock-in, and the threat of cyber-hacks that can down a business.

In fact, Paulo Pereira, Director, Systems Engineering – Emerging Markets and Eastern Europe at Nutanix, states that many companies are taking an application-centric approach to IT. They are choosing the best home for each app that they deploy - be that a public or private cloud - rather than picking just one and making their cloud apps fit. 

"This fear of lock-in isn't the only reason a growing number of companies to want to spread workloads across clouds. Many companies would also like to be able to move workloads between clouds for both technical and financial reasons," notes Pereira.

Indeed, one size does not fit all in every other aspect of life, so why in our cloud systems? When analysing how to implement cloud solutions at any company, a full assessment of organisational needs is necessary, to settle on the correct cloud architecture.

The public cloud is best for cloud applications with varying data usage because it is easily scalable. For example, a company that sells Eid gifts may be bustling in the weeks before Eid, but have low volumes the rest of the year. It could use a public cloud for their online sales applications so that they can scale up cloud storage over busy periods. For cloud applications that run at a reasonably standard storage rate, or may contain sensitive information, they should be kept on their own private cloud servers

This example underscores enterprises' need for hybrid cloud's flexibility as it allows them to adapt their cloud infrastructures based on several variables - cost, performance, and security/compliance—that can change over time, according to Periera. 

Because of the massive growth in Saudi Arabia's cloud computing adoption, cloud service upgrades, and cloud system improvements, due to COVID-19, companies such as Commvault, NetApp, Nutanix, and more, are seeing continued business growth in their KSA operations.

"Necessity is the mother of invention, and despite the severe economic impact of Covid-19, we see many companies flourishing, especially those that disrupted traditional ways of working, for example, food delivery apps boomed as did online grocery shopping, and of course remote working and video conferencing become ubiquitous," says a Ministry of Communications and IT spokesperson.

With this increase in remote work, video conferencing, and opening up of internal data access for remote workers as a result of digital transformation, comes an opportunity for companies to step into Saudi, and help overcome the cloud deployment challenges that the country is facing. 

The time for cloud is now!