Microsoft Azure cloud region settles over desert in Doha, Qatar

Opening was delayed during that pandemic thing

Microsoft Azure launched a long-awaited new cloud region in Doha, Qatar, on Monday.

The Qatar Azure cloud region was first announced in December 2019, months before the effects of COVID-19 hit. The pre-pandemic announcement now feels quaint as it contained a promise to accelerate the Qatari government's efforts for digital transformation with a completion date of 2021. That date was eventually delayed to 2022.

"In the coming two weeks we will be launching the region globally, but definitely the datacenter is already here in Qatar," Lana Khalaf, general manager of Microsoft Qatar, told local media outlet The Peninsula in late June.

Khalaf said the datacenter would create 24,000 new jobs and that Microsoft would train 50,000 people over the next five years.

Despite the launch, Microsoft's Azure website showed no products available in Qatar at the time of publication.

The company does have Azure regions nearby in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Google Cloud is also playing catch-up in the area. Although it currently has no cloud regions in the UAE or Qatar, the company said it has plans elsewhere in the Middle East – in Tel Aviv, Israel; Doha, Qatar; and Dammam, Saudi Arabia. Alibaba Cloud, meanwhile, opened a region in Dubai in 2016.

AWS plans to open a cloud region in the UAE this year. The company already has a one in Bahrain, and plans for another in Israel.

Microsoft Azure said on Monday that the new datacenter in Doha will offer "additional resiliency for… applications by designing the region with unique physical datacenter locations with independent power, network, and cooling for additional tolerance to datacenter failures."

The new region makes Qatar the 55th for Azure globally. ®

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