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Cloud computing dominates IDC conference agenda

Running under the theme 'Building a Smarter Infrastructure', the event attracted more than 170 of the UAE's most prominent IT end users to the capital's Hilton Hotel.

The global economic crisis may have negatively impacted IT investment in the region, but it has not reduced the need for data, nor has it removed the stringent requirements for data retention and protection that go hand in hand with stricter corporate governance and ever-tightening international

regulations. The unstable environment has, however, ramped up the pressure on CIOs to boost efficiency and drive direct business results from their investments, something that can be achieved through the improved utilization of existing infrastructure and the wise implementation of new


Zeeshan Gaya, senior research analyst for servers and systems at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, opened the day's proceedings by explaining how virtualization addresses the new realities faced by today's IT managers and can help organizations become more agile and responsive as they embrace the cloud computing phenomenon in increasing numbers.

“The complexity of IT infrastructure is increasing year on year, whether due to the rise in the hardware installed base, an increase in power consumption, the need to 'go green', or even because of the need to cut costs, manage more efficiently, and promote integration between an organization's

business areas,” said Gaya. “Virtualization is the technology that will bring the greatest value to organizations across the region, but with virtualization comes new challenges; security in a virtual environment needs to be at the forefront of all considerations, and virtual server sprawl will also become a pressing issue that needs to be addressed.”

HP Middle East's StorageWorks Business Unit Manager, Walid Gomaa provided an in-depth assessment of how HP’s converged infrastructure architecture is capable of breaking down technology silos to simplify IT and accelerate business results as the need to match the supply of IT resources with the demand for business applications grows in the wake of megatrends such as

virtualiztion, Green IT, and cloud computing.

Rodney Callaghan, VP for the Gulf region at APC by Schneider Electric, opined that data centres of today are the fastest growing consumers of energy, with multiple inefficiencies taking place from the power plant to the plug. Faced with ever increasing energy costs, he said data centre operators are caught between having to deliver more computing per watt while also reducing energy costs and their carbon footprint. He went on to present his vision of how the datacenter landscape will change over the coming years, explaining that the emphasis will be on faster deployment and lower total cost of ownership (TCO), leading to energy efficiency, higher availability, lower power usage effectiveness, and scalable modular architecture.

Following on, Georg Meixner, a senior sales specialist on the growth markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (CEEMEA) at IBM, presented his vision of the next-generation data centre, outlining the key influencing factors on TCO and explaining how to secure CFO buy-in

through compelling ROI justifications. Injazat Data Systems' head of product development, Michael Collins, then provided an insider's view on how virtualization and managed storage services have evolved from being a novel concept to a real enabler of business value for a large proportion of

Injazat’s customers.

Charbel Zreiby, pre-sales manager at EMC Middle East, expressed his belief that the evolution to private cloud computing will be the largest and most significant wave of beneficial change the IT industry has ever seen, explaining that the private cloud holds the promise of delivering unprecedented levels of efficiency, control, and choice in IT infrastructure while enabling IT

professionals to focus more of their time on activities that will truly differentiate and benefit the business.

Dell's Enterprise Product Manager for the Middle East, Basil Ayass, discussed the 'democratisation of IT' and its ability to enable businesses of all sizes to automate the most timeconsuming of tasks across multi-vendor service portfolios, while Cisco's regional data centre and virtualisation manager, Ammar Halabi, outlined the major milestones that need to be undertaken in

transforming existing datacenters so that they are fully compatible with the cloud-computing concept.

The roadshow also featured presentations from senior representatives of Eaton, Riverbed, CA Technologies, and Al Habtoor Leighton Group on controlling demand for power, developing sophisticated disaster recovery strategies, managing customer satisfaction across the physical and

virtual world, and improving the resilience of email infrastructure through cloud-based services.

To ensure that the very latest technology developments were covered by the Storage, Virtualisation, and data center roadshow 2010 in Abu Dhabi, IDC partnered with a host of leading regional and global vendors. Injazat Data Systems, HP, APC by Schneider Electric, IBM, and MDS made up the

event's roster of Platinum Partners, while Eaton, Dell, Riverbed, CA Technologies, and Cisco partnered at the Gold level. The event's Silver Partner was Mimecast and Tripp Lite was the official Exhibition Partner.

The Storage, Virtualization, and Datacenter Roadshow 2010 in Abu Dhabi marked the seventh stop of a ten-city tour of the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. Having already taken in Casablanca, Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Ankara, and Istanbul, the roadshow moves on to Cairo on November 29 and

Doha on December 1, before coming to a close in Riyadh on December 5.

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