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InfoQ Homepage News Cloud Providers Target Middle East: AWS Adds Region in the United Arab Emirates, Microsoft in Qatar

Cloud Providers Target Middle East: AWS Adds Region in the United Arab Emirates, Microsoft in Qatar

Amazon recently announced a new region in the United Arab Emirates, its second one in the Middle East. Microsoft just opened its first global datacenter region in Qatar where Google plans to open a new region too.

The official name of the new AWS region is Middle East (UAE) and the API name is me-central-1. The launch increases the AWS global infrastructure to 87 availability zones across 27 regions. AWS opened a region in Bahrain in 2019 and has since expanded its presence in the Middle East, with a region in Israel expected in the first half of 2023. Marcia Villalba, senior developer advocate at AWS, writes:

In addition to the two Regions—Bahrain and UAE—the Middle East has two AWS Direct Connect locations, allowing customers to establish private connectivity between AWS and their data centers and offices, as well as two Amazon CloudFront edge locations, one in Dubai and another in Fujairah. The UAE Region also offers low-latency connections to other AWS Regions in the area.

Applications running in the new available zones can use a subset of EC2 instances (C5, C5d, C6g, M5, M5d, M6g, M6gd, R5, R5d, R6g, I3, I3en, T3, and T4g), with latest generation m6i Intel and c7g Graviton notable misses, and the majority of the AWS managed services. Corey Quinn, chief cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, highlights some issues with the new region:

I can't deploy to the new UAE region because despite being shiny and new it doesn't support v2 API Gateways yet. It also doesn't support Graviton-based Lambda functions either (...) No Ubuntu, macOS, RedHat, or SUSE. Congratulations to AWS on its launch of half of a region. Even the Amazon Linux 2 AMI is on kernel 4.14 instead of 5.10 like regions that actually work. Why would you open the doors before you stock the store shelves?

AWS is not the only cloud provider expanding their datacenters in the Middle East. In collaboration with the Qatari Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Microsoft announced the launch of its new datacenter region in Qatar. Microsoft is the first major cloud provider to open in Qatar, supporting Microsoft Azure services and Microsoft 365. Available with three zones, the new region is based in Doha and available to all customers and partners.

With more than 70 percent of country startups on the Microsoft Founders hub, Lana Khalaf, country manager at Microsoft, explains:

This data center has the largest number of cloud services since the history of Microsoft. It helps companies in major industries to accelerate their digital transformation and innovate from Qatar to the world (...) The data center will contribute to Qatar National Vision 2030 (...)

Google Cloud confirms the trend, expecting to open a region in Doha and one in Tel Aviv soon.

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