Enterprises in the Middle East are dealing with daily heavy workloads. According to the latest analysis, firms are migrating their data and applications to cloud-centric infrastructure at an estimated growth rate ranging between 3 to 4 percent over the next three years.
We sat down with Mouteih Chaghlil, CEO, Middle East & Africa at Bespin Global, to get insights on Enterprise Cloud Storage status in the region.
Read the full interview below:
CEO of Middle East & Africa, Bespin Global
1. What is the state of the enterprise storage market in the Middle East?
The enterprise storage market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) has seen and is forecast to witness huge growth in the coming years, and the COVID-19 pandemic was in no doubt an accelerator of it. However, the market still requires infrastructure-led innovation where applications and policy-driven decisions are implemented.
In addition, on-premises storage systems are still not benefitting as they should from hybrid cloud storage software and services’ initiatives. As a result, enterprises are still dealing with extremely expensive storage systems and managing complex hardware storage, not to mention the rapid growth of new data that has increased security, compliance risk and data governance issues.
2. What key technologies should CIOs be looking out for in the enterprise storage space?
In today’s world, CIOs are given a broader remit than they had before and are currently playing a leading role in directing businesses’ technologies to ensure optimizing data storage for their enterprise.
That would entail implementing a hybrid cloud to simplify and secure existing back-up, investing in AI opportunities to increase IT functions and support hybrid storage, eliminating technical debt by implementing a culture of financially sustainable cost management, and of course, implementing automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) technologies to reduce expenses and complexity.
3. Is cloud storage the future of enterprise storage?
In the post COVID-19 digital economy, companies are focusing more than ever on cost-optimization and efficiency. The main three features that favor adopting cloud as opposed to other storage forms, as well as ensuring that it is the future of enterprise storage focus on the technology’s unlimited capabilities which allows infinite customization, the availability of pay-as-you-go models, and the multi-tier security measures that could be applied.
Unlike the on-premises offerings, cloud storage provides users the ability to pick and choose the capacity they need from the cloud storage services, with no high capex and great speed, availability, security, as well as high performance.
4. How can CIOs optimize their server and network infrastructure to maximize their enterprise storage deployments?
CIOs can start first by evaluating which data should stay locally in their data centers for governance and compliance matters, security, and low latency access. Then a cloud migration plan should be set to migrate workloads and data they assess as a good candidate to move to the cloud. This way they will ensure a maximum return on investment (ROI) of their current enterprise storage investment and benefit at the same time from the cloud offerings and utilization.
5. What do you see as challenges for enterprises in the Middle East in the enterprise storage space this year?
Bespin Global has been working with enterprises from all over the MEA to understand the main challenges or obstacles they are facing amidst the increased workloads, and unskilled personnel in IT organizations and three main challenges have come to light.
Firstly, maintaining their current investments is the primary challenge. Due to the pandemic both enterprise and customer workloads have witnessed a great increase which required setting a balance between maintaining their current investments and procuring the right cloud storage to support this increased demand.
Secondly, upskilling their current workforces has been another challenge for enterprises given that adopting cloud involves certain skills and expertise to ensure successful migrations to new technologies.
Lastly, overcoming infrastructure limitations is proving to be a challenge. Specifically, connectivity and bandwidth in the MEA are either unavailable (due to lack of infrastructure) or are a financial burden for many organizations.
6. What are the newest technologies to address enterprise storage in the Middle East?
Enterprise storage and in particular cloud storage technologies are evolving at an incredible pace and enterprise leaders need to stay aware of the latest trends by:
Migrating to Hybrid cloud technologies. The market has experienced high maturity in hybrid cloud technologies allowing customers to run workloads in a hybrid scenario and ensuring they are leveraging the cloud without affecting the businesses’ flow (e.g. AWS Outpost, Azure Stack & Google Anthos).
Focusing on back-up and disaster recovery solutions. Providers are adding more integrations and solutions for enterprises to leverage cloud services. (e.g., Veeam)
Aim for consistency. Top enterprise storage providers are matching their on-premises solutions with similar ones on the cloud to ensure customers have a consistent experience (Netapp storage on-tap)
7. What enterprise storage technologies will be most sought after in the year ahead?
The evolving market for cloud storage, makes it crucial for enterprises today to adopt the newest technologies. The key features that we believe should be supported are:
Intelligent storage management, or in other words leveraging the power of AI/ML to perform policy based tiering and operational control.
Data security and Automated classification to ensure the best ROI and decrease manual operational overheads.
Ability to migrate data seamlessly between on-premises and cloud storage.
Support for unstructured data, object storage and new protocols to support data analysis and data mining.
8. How should CIOs tackle the skills challenges the Middle East enterprise storage sector is facing?
As organizations aggressively pursue digital transformation and operational efficiencies, CIOs responsibilities involve coming up with a public cloud migration/hybrid cloud strategy which usually includes building a “Cloud Centre of Excellence”. This Centre will provide the current workforce, along with the vendors trainings, a real experience and hands-on knowledge related to the enterprise workloads they are familiar with. Therefore, Cloud Centre of Excellence members can then become the internal trusted evangelists and the single point of contact.
This is one of the strengths that Bespin Global holds today with regards to its skilled and qualified cloud experts and engineers and their wide experience and knowledge in the industry where they can support and address any company’s challenges.