UAE Leads In Regional Data Centre Market: Report


A study by Arizton Advisory and Intelligence revealed that the data centre market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of around 8 per cent and is expected to reach $5 billion by the end of 2026.

The MENA region is experiencing a surge in data centre demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased digitalisation, 5G penetration, adoption of cloud and hybrid infrastructure services, along with major government initiatives which are boosting the region’s data centre market.

According to the Arizton report, UAE is a preferred data centre investment location in the Middle East, attracting investments in around four colocation data centre facilities in 2020. The colocation service providers were Khazna, Etisalat, and Equinix. Most data centres in the Middle East are being developed in prominent locations, especially within the GCC countries. In recent years, these locations have attracted considerable investments, and more data centres are planned for 2020 and 2021.

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Rapid development in network connectivity, government support, and growth in the adoption of cloud, big data, and IoT services have been strong drivers for the growth of the UAE data centre industry. The rising adoption of cloud-based services is leading to the growth of retail and wholesale colocation services in the region. The market is witnessing an increase in the demand for colocation spaces across existing and upcoming data centres.

Some leading cloud service providers in the country are Oracle, Alibaba Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM.

The MENA data centre market added around 2 per cent of the global data centre market investments in 2020, with Turkey, the UAE, and countries such as Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait are leading the region. As many as 29 announced, planned, and under construction projects have been identified in the region, all of which are expected to be operational within the next two to three years. 

There is an increase in the adoption of modular data centres, to cater to challenges in the region such as high PUE, the high operational cost of traditional data centres, and the lack of skilled workers to fulfil the requirements of full-fledged data centres.

The MENA data centre market by mechanical infrastructure is expected to reach over 200 million by 2026. The adoption of cooling units highly depends on the IT load, rack density, and cooling systems design. Cooling systems and IT infrastructure are the predominant power consumers in data centres. Operators have adopted several innovations such as energy-efficient cooling infrastructure solutions to increase operational efficiency, reduce power consumption, and decrease carbon emissions.