Data centres to flourish in the GCC, experts say

Lack of awareness and education amongst GCC clients a major hindrance

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Gregory Jasmin and Bassem Hariri believe 2012 will see major opportunities for data centres in the GCC.
Gregory Jasmin and Bassem Hariri believe 2012 will see major opportunities for data centres in the GCC.

Data centre usage and growth in the GCC region is on the up as clients look to harness the power of internet technology, an expert said on Wednesday.

In an interview with MEP Middle East, Gregory Jasmin, co-managing director of Syska Hennessy Group MENA, said the growth of mobile technology, internet video and social media have helped to spark an interest in data centres in the GCC.

“Clients in the region are looking for ways to improve their data centre infrastructure, while also looking at innovative technologies and energy efficiency.

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"As clients depend more on data centres for their growing core business, the awareness of how critical these systems are to their business is also increasing. They now realise what an outage or downtime can cost them, financially and PR wise,” said Jasmin.

With MEP making up around 70% to 75% of all work in the industry, the need for qualified professionals is becoming essential, Bassem Hariri, also a co-managing director at Syska Hennessy Group, MENA, said.

“It takes a high level of speciality and experience to design, build, and commission and operate these systems. [MEP designers and engineers] must understand their client’s business and what they’re trying to accomplish with the data centre. Then they must tailor their design to match this intent,” he said.

“It’s not like one solution fits all. Each client has a different growth curve and different life expectancy of their data centre. Some data centres are transitional infrastructure and some are for the long term."

But by understanding the growth curve, expected lifetime and business intent, a flexible, modular, scalable and cost effective solution can be developed.

However, Jasmin highlighted the lack of education and awareness on data centres in the GCC, and predicted that it could pose a challenge for consultants in the future.

As a result, data centre designers had an obligation to constantly evolve and involve their clients in every step of the design process.

“Clients in the GCC do not understand the complexity to design, build, commission and operate data centres. They perceive it as another server room or as regular building infrastructure and underestimate the value of having a specialised data centre consultant leading their project and work hand in glove with the design team,” he said.

Despite this, Hariri said he sees major growth opportunities in the market throughout 2012 in the GCC. One market expected to mature quickly is the co-location market, he added.

“Government agencies that rely on mission critical facilities will also invest heavily on data centre infrastructure,” he said.

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