Data centres take to the road

Online Distribution completed the first ever series of data centre-focused roadshows in the Middle East this month, recording attendance from some of the biggest names in the region.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  December 24, 2006

Online Distribution completed the first ever series of data centre-focused roadshows in the Middle East this month, recording attendance from some of the biggest names in the region. The roadshow took in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Riyadh, Dammam, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, as Online and five of its vendor partners discussed some of the current issues in data centres and showed off the latest solutions. “It’s been very good – we’ve had an excellent response,” said Venu Menon, divisional manager at Online. “In Riyadh we had a crowd of 92 people attending the presentations, in Dammam we had 43, which was very good as there was an Aramco event going on at the same time – we still had the chief advisor for Aramco’s new data centre there, so that was very good indeed.” Fahad Al-Zarah, representing a major government organisation in Saudi Arabia, attended the Riyadh event, and commented afterwards: “It was a great event; all the vendors on the roadshow were talking about one subject – data centres. Other roadshows can be a mix – there is information about networks, and a lot of other areas as well.” Online’s vendors at the events included APC, Ortronics, Corning, Avocent and APW, and representatives from each discussed some of the critical issues around data centres, as well as various aspects of their data centre-oriented solutions. “It’s good to collect all the companies involved in data centres,” said Al-Zarah. “Here in Saudi Arabia everybody is talking about data centres, building data centres. When you say data centres, it is not one subject – it is networking, it is UPS (uninterruptible power supply), it is choosing the right cabinet, the cooling system.” Online’s Menon said: “We were looking at the event purely as a technology roadshow. We have a very convincing and formidable set of vendors who can talk about a range of different issues in the data centre – containment, cooling, power, cabling – we have it in those five vendors we represent in the region.” Data centres are a major focus in the region at the moment – one APC representative at the Online events commented that he expects up to 35 data centres to come online in Saudi Arabia alone in 2007. Al-Zarah, whose organisation is in the middle of constructing its own data centre based on APC systems at the moment, is keen to see more emphasis put on data centre trends and technology in the Middle East. He suggested introducing a six-monthly roadshow, to keep network managers informed of the latest developments in the sector. “I think it would be good to get a data centre ranking going for the Middle East, so we could see which is the best data centre in the region. This will create competition between all the organisations,” added Al-Zarah.

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