Google Cloud launches new cloud region in Dammam

Google Cloud is a network of 39 cloud regions and 118 zones, which provides cloud services to over 200 nations and territories globally, and now includes the new Dammam cloud area.

Google Cloud has officially launched its new cloud region in Dammam, introducing high-performance, low-latency Google Cloud Platform services to a diverse range of customers, spanning public sector organisations, large enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and startups across Saudi Arabia and the broader Middle East. This strategic initiative reflects Google Cloud’s deepening commitment to the region and aligns with its support for the realisation of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 objectives.

The announcement was made at a formal launch event presided over by Google Cloud’s CEO, Thomas Kurian, alongside Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Managing Director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa; Tarek Khalil, Director for the Middle East and North Africa; and Bader Al Madi, Saudi Arabia Country Manager. The event garnered attendance from senior Saudi government officials, chief innovation officers, chief technology officers, and key decision-makers within the tech community.

A commissioned research study by Access Partnership, a global tech policy advisory firm, estimates that the new cloud region in Saudi Arabia has the potential to contribute a cumulative $109bn in gross economic output to the Saudi economy between 2024 and 2030. Furthermore, the anticipated economic surge from widespread cloud adoption is expected to generate significant job opportunities, supporting the creation of 148,600 jobs across various sectors by 2030.

Eng. Abdullah Al Swaha, Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), said during his presence at the launch: “Google Cloud’s investment is a strategic move and we are confident that it will bolster the Kingdom’s regional computing hub ambitions, as well as supporting our digital entrepreneurship drive and the acceleration of AI-based innovation and business models across the public and private sectors.”

Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, added: “We are experiencing one of the most significant technological shifts in history, where AI is creating entirely new ways for organisations to solve problems, engage customers, and work more efficiently. Our new cloud region in Saudi Arabia will help both public and private sector organisations make the most of their data, leverage generative AI solutions, and create a culture of innovation underpinned by a modern, sustainable infrastructure with built-in security.”

In their research, Access Partnership notes that the new Dammam cloud region can support the growth ambitions of 1.2m SMEs in Saudi Arabia. Saudi SMEs account for 90% of businesses and 60% of total employment in the Kingdom and Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims for SMEs to contribute 35% to the gross domestic product by 2030. SMEs that are early in their startup journey can apply to join the Google for Startups Cloud Programme once it becomes available in the country in Q1 2024. Eligible startups will have access to product and technical support, dedicated mentors, industry experts, and cloud credit up to $ 200,000 over the first two years.

Starting today, Google Cloud Platform Services are available to Saudi Arabia-based customers through CNTXT, a digital transformation company established as a strategic joint venture between Cognite and Aramco. CNTXT is Google Cloud’s exclusive reseller for local organisations and multinationals purchasing Google Cloud Platform services on a standalone basis through their Saudi-based entities. Customers selling their own solutions powered by Google Cloud can sell those products to Saudi-based end-users, and customers based outside the Kingdom can work with Google Cloud or any of its partners to host their workloads in the Dammam cloud region.

Abdullah Jarwan, CEO of CNTXT, commented: ”CNTXT is delighted to partner with Google Cloud to help bring Google Cloud Platform Services to businesses in the Kingdom, and to jointly work with the ecosystem of Google Cloud partners that will enable and accelerate the digital transformation and growth of organisations across local public and private sectors. In partnership with Google Cloud, CNTXT will embrace innovation and enable local and multinational organisations in Saudi to create value by leveraging the transformative capabilities that Google Cloud offers locally in the Kingdom.”

Abdul Rahman Al Thehaiban, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Google Cloud, stated: “Google Cloud stands as one of the pioneering hyperscalers to launch a cloud region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a clear manifestation of our commitment to leading the digital evolution of the region.”

Bader Al Madi, Saudi Arabia Country Manager, Google Cloud, noted: “We aim to support the digital empowerment of every business, and every individual in Saudi Arabia. By providing accessibility to cloud technologies and AI to the Saudi market, we are actively paving the path for the kingdom’s digital transformation using the latest digital technologies to optimise business processes and customer experiences to meet rapidly-changing business and market dynamics.”

Abdulgader Attiah, Chief Data & Technology Officer, Saudia Airlines, said: “Moving from a cloud-first strategy to a cloud-only strategy with Google Cloud has been a game-changer for our business. We’ve selected Google Cloud as our cloud partner of choice as we are keen to leverage the power of cloud computing to support our growth, become more innovative, and achieve our business goals. Additionally, the fact that we are able to successfully streamline the airline’s SAP enterprise resource planning workloads on Google Cloud has been a critical asset for our business – helping us accelerate our digital transformation and improve our customer service.”

Abdulrahman Bin Mutrib, Chief Technology Officer, Qiddiya & Saudi Entertainment Ventures, remarked: “As the champion of entertainment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are leveraging Google Cloud’s data analytics solutions powered by AI and machine learning to create seamless and personalized entertainment experiences for our future guests. The collaboration with Google Cloud will support our business plans to scale efficiently and deliver an exceptional guest experience overall, while remaining agile and cost-efficient.”

Mohammed Al-Nori, Chief Executive Officer, Wamid, said: “Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of data privacy, security, and regulations in the financial services sector can be demanding. Having a trusted cloud hyperscaler like Google Cloud provides the expertise to overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of data to bring new meaning to customer interactions. With Google Cloud, data monetization is not just a possibility, it’s a reality.”

The new Dammam cloud region is now part of Google Cloud’s network of 39 cloud regions and 118 zones that bring cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Organisations in the region will benefit from key controls that will help allow them to maintain high security, data residency, and meet local regulatory compliance standards, including specific data storage requirements.