Stock - Oracle Data Centre
A cloud 'region' can play host to multiple data centres that help organizations manage their data storage and security off-site. Oracle has already signed up for similar 'regions' in Jeddah and NEOM, and Riyadh becomes the third. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Oracle, the US enterprise software company, is adding a third public cloud ‘region’ in Saudi Arabia, part of a $1.5 billion investment in the Kingdom’s cloud infrastructure needs. The latest Oracle cloud region will be in Riyadh, with the first one being in Jeddah and another that was signed for the city-in-the-making NEOM.

This investment is included in a MoU Oracle has with the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to help businesses take advantage of the possibilities of being in the cloud.

“Oracle’s decision to expand its cloud computing capacity in the Kingdom will play a key role in unlocking the opportunities that rapid technological advancements are creating," Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment. "MISA will continue in its quest to enable the building of a robust digital infrastructure, by creating an attractive environment for these investments – for example, by establishing special economic zones that are tailored to particular industries such as cloud computing and digital transformation.”

'Operational' cloud model

Oracle will also work with MCIT and the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) to establish a commercial and operational model for an additional cloud region in Saudi Arabia aligned with government requirements and local data residency regulations.

The US company will also work with MCIT to help foster the development of Saudi Arabia’s cloud industry.

An Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) offers customer choice to deploy OCI based on regulations, data residency, or latency requirements. The distributed cloud includes 'public regions, dedicated region, Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, multi-cloud offerings, and (the) recently-announced 'Oracle Alloy''.

“Oracle’s investment will rapidly accelerate the cloud transformation across Saudi Arabia’s business and public sector,” said Richard Smith, Executive Vice-President, Technology – EMEA, Oracle.

“The growing interest among hyperscale cloud service providers in setting up in-country nodes in Saudi Arabia indicates the increasing importance being placed on data residency and sovereignty.

In the last century, Saudi Arabia transformed its economy by developing the infrastructure needed to produce, refine, process and transport hydrocarbons. This century we are committed to creating the digital infrastructure that will underpin future economies

- Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, Saudi Arabia


According to the tech consultancy IDC, in-country investments by cloud hyperscalers will intensify further, with 73 per cent of Saudi CIOs saying 'they would move critical applications and data to a public cloud as long as the data resides in an in-country datacenter'. "Public cloud spending in Saudi Arabia will increase at a CAGR of 26.8 per cent to $3.1 billion in 2026, spurred by organizations looking to leverage the power of the cloud to modernize their critical business applications and become cloud native,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, Group Vice-President and regional Managing Director for Middle East, Turkey and Africa, IDC.

In the Middle East and Africa, Oracle has cloud regions in Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Jerusalem and Johannesburg.