The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit, which was held in Dubai on 17 April, provided a platform for technologists, businesses and other stakeholders in regional cloud computing to come together, to connect, collaborate and learn more about the growth potential of AWS.

The AWS Summit aimed at helping participants develop the skills to design, deploy, and operate cloud infrastructure and applications, quickly, safely and securely through the AWS infrastructure.  The full-day summit had various deep-dive breakout sessions with AWS customers in the region covering topics around  digital transformation, security, and how to build and innovate on the cloud.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing part of, was launched in 2006 and gives any software developer or business the keys to one of the world’s most reliable, secure, scalable, and cost-efficient web infrastructures. The term ‘cloud computing’ refers to the on-demand delivery of IT resources via the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Instead of buying, owning, and maintaining their own data centers and servers, organizations can acquire computing power, storage, databases, and other services on an as-needed basis from AWS.  With cloud computing, AWS manages and maintains the technology infrastructure in a secure environment and organizations access these resources via the Internet. Capacity can grow or shrink instantly and organizations only pay for what they use.

Delivering his keynote address, the CTO of Dr. Werner Vogels, reiterated the company’s commitment to the region by pointing out that Amazon was making major investments in the region and significantly boosting regional infrastructure. “We are building offices and teams around the region and these teams are not just sales or account management — we are putting heavy emphasis on technical support… We have also been investing significantly in the regional infrastructure. We recently launched two Edge locations here and the ability to have Direct Connect is directly here in the region to ensure that we have very fast connections throughout the region to the cloud.

“Of course, in the coming months we will launch the Middle East – Bahrain infrastructure Region — the first AWS infrastructure Region in the Middle East (data center) — in 2019 in Bahrain. This will bring flexible, affordable, reliable, and secure cloud computing technologies close to end users across the Middle East and will help organizations speed up their digital transformation initiatives and more rapidly innovate for the citizens of the region,” said Mr. Vogels.

He went on to add, “We are investing heavily in cloud skills here, because we are convinced that given all of the digital transformation that MENA companies are going through, cloud skills will be top of the list for every possible entity. We are investing here with AWS Educate, with universities and also bringing cloud skills to entrepreneurs here.”

During the keynote, it was also announced that Arabic language support was being added to Amazon Polly, a cloud service that uses advanced deep learning technologies to offer a range of 59 voices in 29 languages to convert written content into human-like speech. The service will now turn Arabic text into lifelike speech using a female voice named Zeina, and will support companies in developing digital products that use speech synthesis for a variety of use cases, including publishing and telephony, automated contact centers, language learning platforms, translation apps, and reading of articles.

The keynote also featured AWS regional customers Anghami, Careem, Sarwa, and StarzPlay, who shared their experiences using the AWS Cloud to innovate and grow. Organizations in the Middle East have been leveraging AWS to innovate and grow their businesses for many years, and demand for AWS cloud computing services in this part of the world has never been stronger.  Amazon has seen this potential and has been investing heavily in support services and in developing regional infrastructure that directly benefits startups, enterprises and governments in the region.

In January 2017, AWS opened offices in the region and now has a presence in Dubai and in Manama, Bahrain. In 2018, AWS launched two Amazon CloudFront Edge locations, in Dubai and Fujairah in the UAE. Edge locations give organizations in the region an improved experience for their end users, including faster content delivery and added cyber-security protection. In addition, AWS also launched AWS Direct Connect in Dubai and Fujairah last year to make it easy for customers to establish a dedicated private network connection between AWS and their data-center, office, or co-location environment.

AWS is also supporting the advancement of technology education across the Middle East through various resources, including AWS Training and Certification that helps technologists to develop the skills to design, deploy, and operate infrastructure in the AWS Cloud.

Another program aimed at advancing technology knowledge is AWS Educate, which supports the development of technology and cloud computing skills at local universities, providing students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning.

– Staff Report








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