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AWS Summit in Dubai focuses on growing MENA customer base

Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon, soon expects the opening of a cluster of data centres in Bahrain  that will bring new cloud customers from the region.

Speaking at the AWS Summit in Dubai, Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer at, said that the cloud is accelerating innovation in businesses, including startups, small- and medium-sized enterprises and multinationals.

AWS is opening three (or more) availability zones across Bahrain. They data centers will be completely isolated from each other and can withstand the failure of each other, with different power sources and networks.

Clouds forming in the region

AWS is currently the biggest cloud services provider and already has two data centres in the UAE — DataMena and Smart Hub — that have been operational since August last year. Oracle recently opened its Abu Dhabi data centre in February and Microsoft is set to open data centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi soon.

Vogels said the advantage of moving to the cloud is that a customer can scale up or down the cloud at will. It will also allow customers the flexibility to build highly-available applications which were previously not possible in the region. 

AWS is planning to open four more data centres globally in Milan, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Jakarta in the next couple of years.

Image credit: TechRadar

Image credit: TechRadar

We have lowered our prices 71 times in the last 15 years and I don’t think any other IT company has done it.

Werner Vogels, CTO - AWS

Operational for over 15 years, Vogels said: “We have seen which customers are successful and which architectures are successful. We’ve created a framework that is over five different pillars – liability, scale, performance, cost management and security.”

When asked how different is AWS when compared to Azure, Alibaba and Oracle, he said that AWS has the breadth and depth of the platform:

“Some of our rivals are old IT companies who are frustrated by the fact that the arrival of the cloud has taken away 80 per cent margins of their business. They are now trying to make up for that and trying to be AWS but they are not.” As an example, he mentioned that when WhatsApp came into play, it was telcos that lost the business and now text messaging are free.

Customer-centric approach

“Amazon is an e-commerce company and when we built AWS, it was based on customer-centric approach but other cloud providers take control of customers.” Vogels said that 95 per cent of the features and services in the last three years are based on feedback from customers.

“We have lowered our prices 71 times in the last 15 years and I don’t think any other IT company has done it. We are successful only when our customers are successful.”

AWS is making major investments in the region, not only with sales or account management but also placing major emphasis on technical support. With the digital transformation taking place in the region, cloud skills will be top of the list for every possible entity.