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JULY 2011 | VOL.24 ISSUE 7


Aligning business and IT strategies for the Middle East


How the recession led to Dubai World Trade Centre rethinking its disaster recovery strategy

How cloud computing and virtualisation are bolstering the region’s developer community

CLOUDY SKIES Why the region’s leading CIOs still have their doubts about whether the Middle East is ready for cloud computing

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9 771997 770009


Contact us : P.O.Box : 500327, Dubai Media City, U.A.E Tel : +971 4 3688118, Fax : +971 4 3688170 Email : Al Thuraya Tower 1, 24th floor, Dubai Media City, Dubai, U.A.E


Contents July 2011 | Volume 24 Issue 7

5 News Update This month in the news: the region’s top IT executives gather at the inaugural ACN 100 conference in Dubai, Secureworks calls for global standards on cloud computing, Sage plans aggressive expansion across the Middle East, Black Hat hackers conference returns to Abu Dhabi in December, Cisco predicts 15 billion mobile devices in use by 2015, and Microsoft says cloud computing is the biggest thing in IT for 32 years. Meanwhile in Innovation, the UAE’s TRA announces AED15bn in IT funding, and Cisco invests $10bn into Egypt’s IT sector.

16 Online The hottest stories from this month


Statistics The latest figures from Gartner on the software security industry show that start-ups are driving growth.

IBM at 100

Last month, IBM celebrated its 100th anniversary. We caught up with Middle East general manager Takreem El Tohamy to find out how it celebrated the momentous occasion.



Rescue ME

Dubai’s World Trade Centre is one of the crowing jewel’s in its modern trade-focused economy. But the recent recession forced it to look at alternatives to building its own disaster recovery infrastructure.


Project Update

Every month, Arabian Computer News brings you the latest project news from around the GCC and beyond, to keep you up to date with what is going on.

20 Comment Dell Middle East’s Mo Laher explains why training is going to become increasingly important as we move into the cloud; Avaya KSA’s Fadi Hani talks about the IT spending boom in Saudi; and Oracle’s Gerhard Schlabschi reflects on the cost savings offered by virtualisation.

24 ACN 100 Review Arabian Computer News looks back at its first conference, which brought together the leading lights of the region’s IT industry to talk about the big issues in their jobs.

24 46 Changing times Cloud computing and virtualisation are changing the way that IT managers and CIOs manage their software. Arabian Computer News considers the impact.



42 Enterprising solutions Arabian Computer News looks at how virtualisation and the cloud are changing the face of enterprise software.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Creative minds

With over 300m Arabic speakers, and a market full of unique challenges, there are opportunities to be had for businesses and ISVs in the Middle East. But just what is holding them back?


Arabian Computer News rounds up the latest personnel and training news, and moves from around the Middle East’s IT industry.


After hours

Arabian Computer News sits down with leading figures from around the industry to find out what makes them who they are. This month, we speak to Devoteam Middle East’s managing partner, Osama Ghoul.



Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 50024, Dubai, UAE Tel: + 971 (0)4 444 3000 Fax: + 971 (0)4 444 3030 Web: Offices in Dubai & London ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad General Manager Peter Conmy Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton EDITORIAL Editor Ben Furfie Tel: +971 4 444 3643 Mob: +971 55 775 8326 email: Contributors Daniel Shane, Georgina Enzer, Keri Allan, Mark Sutton, Nithyasree Trivikram ADVERTISING

On top of the cloud


ast month saw Arabian Computer News host its first conference, and by all definitions it was a roaring success. The feedback we had from CIOs both on the day and after the event has been stellar. The decision to restrict the conference to CIOs and a select number of specially selected partners meant that those attending the event were saved from the constant bombardment by vendor sales pitches that often typify these events. And the response showed that it was the right decision. The quality of the attendees was also reflected in the conference’s three debates, with the opening gambit on cloud computing providing particularly heated with the audience also getting involved. We’ll be looking to return to the topic at a later date, so keep your eyes open. Another great thing about the event was the opportunity to speak to CIOs on a level that isn’t normally possible due to work commitments on both sides. I can assure you that the feedback we received about the magazine and its focus will be taken into account when we begin planning next year’s features and interviews in the coming few months.


Okay, I was wrong... For those that follow my Twitter account (@ benfurfie), you might recall me slamming Microsoft’s decision to use the same operating system on both desktops and tablet devices. To be fair, what the company had shown up until its Windows 8 reveal last month had led us to believe that it would simply try to force its existing Windows set up on tablet devices. And as anyone who has used an iPad will tell you, the hardware isn’t anywhere near as important as the software experience. On the revealing of Windows 8 though, I’ll admit I was forced to swallow my words. Never did it occur to me (or many of the other technology journalists I know from around the world) that Microsoft would move its desktop experience – which is still its bread and butter revenue stream – away from its safely trodden ground towards new pastures; namely the Metro theme introduced with Windows Phone 7 (and introduced to its Xbox Live console just a couple of days after the unveiling of Windows 8). You can read more about it on page 12. However, of concern for CIOs should be the signal it sends. Windows 8 is about the touch and feel of an OS; not its business use as it has traditionally been in the past. However, whether this signals the beginning of a way to combat consumerisation of IT, or the opening of a nightmare for CIOs is unclear. I’ll hold off making assumptions this time... Ben Furfie, Editor

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton Tel: +971 4 444 3193 email: Advertising Manager Benjamin Baker Tel: +971 4 444 3344 email: STUDIO Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Designer Wasim Akande PHOTOGRAPHY Chief Photographer Jovana Obradovic Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Isidora Bojovic Staff Photographers Lester Ali, George Dipin, Juliet Dunne, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav, Verko Ignjatovic, Stanislav Kuzmin PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Marketing Manager Annie Chinoy ITP DIGITAL Assistant Editor Georgina Enzer Tel: +971 4 444 3723 email: Group Sales Manager ITP Digital Websites Ahmad Bashour Tel: +971 4 444 3549 email: Ahmad Senior Sales Manager, Nathalie Akl Tel: +971 4 444 3520 email: ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors KM Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 444 3000 Printed by Color Lines Printing Press. Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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News The latest news from around the Middle East, as well as stock prices, upcoming events, and opinion from the region’s key players.

Information technology industry failing to keep up with businesses Arabian Computer News 100 panel reveals it is a misconception that IT is moving too fast BUSINESS

UAE BUSINESS LEADERS have agreed that IT innovations are moving slower than business development. At the Arabian Computer News 100 conference this week, Saji Oommen, GM Group IT, Al Batha Group said that companies would like to fully invest in cloud computing, but the technology is not yet up to standard. “I personally do not think technology is going so fast, in fact there is always a gap companies would like to get cloud computing yesterday because they can scale up fast, but the problem is cloud computing is far from maturity. I think business is moving faster that IT,” he said. Jan Hichert, CEO of Astaro agreed that IT is slow saying that innovation is on a ‘by decade’ basis. “Innovation in the network security market is happening on a ‘by decade’ basis, in terms of the broader technology, I think it would be more comfortable for us as a small company if there was more change.” Mario Zambas, CIO of Yas Marina Circuit was less sure about the lag between IT development and business development, but did agree that there was a lag. “IT is possibly lagging behind, but don’t go chasing the latest technology unless it works with your business. Don’t get carried away with the latest things.” He added that as soon as one new technology comes out, there is one to better it, i.e. the iPad and now the iPad 2, so it is better to

The panel session on cloud computing led to heated discussions between the various CIOs.

wait until the technology has matured before jumping on the bandwagon. Naushad Kermalli, deputy general manager ITO Strategy and Group Operations Processing at Emirates NBD said that particularly in the banking sector, CIOs must ensure that the new technology fully fits in with the corporate vision and business plan. “The development of IT has to be linked to the business strategy and the type of deployment that you do really depends on the maturity level of an organisation. We hear of a lot of IT products out there and can be quite creative about how we can use that, but unless, in the banking sector, you have thoroughly checked what this application is, it becomes very difficult to deploy and later on begin to worry about it.”

Companies would like to get cloud computing yesterday, because they can scale up fast, but the problem is that cloud is far from maturity.”

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Kermalli added however that if IT decisions are left in the hands of the business unit in the company, the business will end up lagging behind in technology due to an abundance of caution. “The standard we have adopted in Emirates NBD Bank is that IT comes in with innovative solutions and then explains how this technology helps, and then we put it under test. We are constantly in liaison with IT and business.” He added that many banks, in their haste to upgrade to new technologies, do not realise that the applications they currently have are able to be upgraded and expanded to do the job of the new applications. “We are all out there finding new applications, but if you look at [what you have already] you find out you have so much there and can avoid disrupting the business by introducing something new. It is time to be identifying better usage and innovation of existing applications.”



Secureworks: Cloud providers need to set global standards Security company says public cloud providers need to be open and honest with customers BUSINESS

THE PUBLIC CLOUD should have a common set of agreed global security criteria so customers can assess the integrity of cloud service providers, and those providers should be open and honest in their dealings with customers, Don Smith, VP of engineering and technology EMEA at SecureWorks told Arabian Computer News at the Dell Tech Camp in London. “Cloud providers have to do their piece, they have to be open and honest about what they are doing already to secure the cloud. There needs to be a common set of agreed audit criteria for providers, [the industry] could come together and agree to follow an ISO 27000 or FAS 170 or whatever, to have a common way of establishing a depth and strength view of the cloud provider. If you don’t take a holistic look at the provider, if you don’t understand who their people are, what their technology is then you are not able to genuinely assess their security stance,” said Smith. According to Smith, public cloud does present some security challenges, but those chal-

lenges are actually old technical challenges, delivered in a new context. Five or six years ago, traditional enterprises could rely on the hard country perimeter, so did not practice security to the breadth and depth that was needed.

FINANCIAL MARKETS Prices correct as of June 19th 2011

































SAGE IS PLANNING aggressive development across the Middle East region as the financial crisis wanes and has been discussing prospects with customers across the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “We consider this region strategic for our growth and this is where we invest the most. The

Sage is targeting the region’s financial sector.


“Along comes the cloud and SaaS and public cloud with IaaS and you can no longer rely on that single very high wall outside your fortress, you have to make sure you have locks on every door, that you have guards on every street.”

Sage planning aggressive expansion in the Middle East’s financial sector


Public cloud providers need to agree on a set of standards, warned Secureworks at at Dell event.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

objective for us is to create a complete sustainable business from Dubai, branches are a possibility depending on the number of customers in each region, so we are not concentrating here, but focusing growth on any country that develops a large structure, so that we can continue respecting the local aspects of their business,” Fernand Rasetti, chief operating officer of Sage. According to Rasetti, the Middle East banking market is brand new and has a lot of needs, with many of the banks requiring much more advanced systems then they either have in place, or have in mind. “A customer will come with something fresh and new and say this is what I need, but in fact what they need is way more than that, they just did not have the background to assess it properly,” he said.


Black Hat conference returns to Abu Dhabi Security event returns to the Middle East this December z Conference features two days of security training and briefings TECHNOLOGY


WHAT: 2011 Arab Technology Awards WHERE: Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa WHEN: Monday, October 10th 2011 ABOUT: The night the entire industry looks forward to. Now in its seventh year, the Arabian Computer News Arab Technology Awards is the most prestigious and anticipated ceremony in the region’s IT calender. REASON TO ATTEND: Over 300 of the industry’s must know executives and CIOs will be in attendance, making it a must attend event for anyone involved in the Middle East’s enterprise information technology industry. MORE DETAILS: You can visit the event site at

THE SECOND EDITION of the Black Hat security conference will be heading to Abu Dhabi from 12th to 15th December 2011 at the Emirates Palace. The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), represented by the UAE Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT), in cooperation with Khalifa University of Science and Technology has partnered with UBM again for the second edition of the information security conference. “We have decided to partner with UBM to hold Black Hat Abu Dhabi for a second time because of the increasing need to protect our IT systems from attack, because of the enormous success of the first Black Hat Abu Dhabi and partnership fostered between UBM, the TRA, aeCERT and Khalifa University. The event continues to support the TRA vision to make the UAE’s ICT sector a leader in the global market place. As such, the TRA is proud to be the leading partner of Black Hat Abu Dhabi

Black Hat will return to Abu Dhabi in December.

for the second time,” said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of the TRA. This year’s Black Hat will feature two days of training sessions and briefings focusing on discussions and demonstrations of the latest security issues faced in the market today. The event is in line with aeCERT’s policy of assisting with the identification, prevention and response to cyber-attacks in the UAE and aiding in developing operating mechanisms for the TRA’s strategy to increase cyber security in the UAE.

Cisco sees 15bn connected devices by 2015 TECHNOLOGY

CISCO HAS PREDICTED that the number of connected devices will swell to over 15 billion by 2015, double the number of people in the world and global internet traffic will quadruple to 966 exabytes per year in 2015. These predictions were made in the fifth annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2010-2015) released last month. Cisco has said that between 2014 and 2015 internet traffic will increase by 200 exabytes which is greater than the total amount of internet traffic that was generated globally in 2010. nternet traffic will be on the verge of reaching one zettabyte, equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes by 2015, it said. Global IP traffic growth is driven by four primary factors, according to Cisco. The first of these factors is

Devices, such as tablets, are leading net traffic.

an increasing number of devices driven by the proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines which drives up the demand for connectivity. The second factor is more internet users, set to reach nearly three billion by 2015, more than 40% of the world’s projected population.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Faster broadband speeds are the third factor. The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase four-fold, from 7Mbps in 2010 to 28Mbps in 2015. The fourth factor is that in 2015 there will be more video, one million video minutes - which is the equivalent of 674 days - will traverse the internet every second, according to Cisco. “The explosive growth in data traffic, especially video, creates an opportunity in the years ahead for optimising and monetising visual, virtual and mobile internet experiences. Cisco stands ready to help our customers not only accommodate this rapid expansion of internet activity through the evolution of their networks but also help them thrive as a result of it,” said Suraj Shetty, vice president of worldwide service provider marketing, Cisco.



Microsoft: Cloud computing is the biggest thing in 32 years Partner technology unit senior director Terry Smith says the technology’s impact is huge TECHNOLOGY

CLOUD IS THE BIGGEST thing to hit the IT industry in 32 years, according to Terry Smith, senior director, Partner Technology Unit, at Microsoft Global. “I am in my 32nd year in this industry and genuinely [cloud computing] is the biggest change I have seen. Just the fundamental move from the constraint of how much computing power you have, to an absolute explosion of devices and effectively unlimited computing power, how do you put those together? What does that do for organisations in terms of collaboration and productivity, in terms of innovation, that is the really exciting thing,” Smith commented at a recent event. Microsoft’s original vision was to have a Microsoft computer on every desktop in every

SMITH: Cloud is the biggest thing in 32 years.

home, but that vision has changed with the development of cloud computing. “If you look at the new world we are living in, we have to harness all of the change that is happening, our vision today is to provide continuous cloud computing power for every business and every customer irrespective of size or industry,” said Smith.

This does not mean that Microsoft is moving away from being a software company, that will still be Microsoft’s core business, but Smith says that increasingly what customers, consumers and businesses are looking for is a software driven experience, where the services that are wrapped around that and the devices that are used to consume it are of equal importance. Microsoft said that its biggest software products today are already available in the cloud and the company is just about to announce a new release, Microsoft Office in the cloud. “We are just about to announce Office 365, so Office is in the cloud, along with Exchange, Lync - our unified communications platform - and with Sharepoint. We also have available Dynamics, which is our business application,” said Smith.

Tech leaders mark World IPv6 day TECHNOLOGY

MAJOR WEB COMPANIES and IT vendors marked World IPv6 Day yesterday, to promote the need to switch over to the IPv6 protocol. Many of the web companies involved switched their main web sites to IPv6 for the day, both to test their IPv6 preparedness and raise awareness of the switch. Over 400 organisations participated, including Google, Facebook and Yahoo!, and vendors such as Brocade, Cisco, Juniper and Huawei. Of the companies that switched their sites to IPv6 for the day, there were no major problems reported. The current IPv4 protocol is rapidly running out of new addresses, so switching to the new protocol, which will provide trillions of new addresses, is necessary to continue to meet demand to roll out web-enabled devices. Vendors also point out that there are inherent benefits to IPv6, such as simplifying network management; improved security, particularly for the cloud, as support for the IPsec security framework is an IPv6 mandatory


requirement; improved interoperability and mobility and better collaboration. “The explosion of internet connected devices is driving up the need for more and more IP addresses,” said Zeus Kerravala, senior vice president, global enterprise and consumer research, Yankee Group. “Because of this, the migration to IPv6 is more a matter of when rather than if. However, most organisations often overlook the added benefits of IPv6 that revolve around better security and manageability.” Brocade, which provides IPv6-ready infrastructure solutions, to enable customers to transition to the protocol, already has its main website,, fully IPv6 enabled on its own technologies, which the company says helps it prove the capabilities of IPv6 and share best practice with its customers. “For more than a decade Brocade has been advancing its switching and routing platforms to help lead the charge in IPv6 preparedness,” said Dave Stevens, chief technology officer and vice president, corporate development for Bro-

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

IPv6 is one of the biggest challenges facing IT.

cade. “Brocade has a full suite of products and technologies shipping today that are fully IPv6 capable and our customers are using them to seamlessly migrate their production networks to IPv6. As a leading example, the Brocade. com website has been IPv6 enabled for more than a year – making us one of the first networking vendors to field a native IPv6-compliant internet presence.”

Citrix Middle-East & Africa Dubai Internet City, B17, Office#265 Dubai, UAE TEL: +971 4 391-3524 EMAIL:

Š 2010 Citrix Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.


Innovate Your monthly round-up of innovative products, projects, and services from around the Middle East and the world’s vendors and enterprises.

UAE to invest in ICT start-ups UAE’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority allocates AED22m ($5.9m) to aiding UAE entrepreneurs BUSINESS

THE UAE’S TRA has put aside AED22 million ($5.9 million) in funding to develop earlystage homegrown ICT projects this year. The investment will be delivered through the TRA’s ICT Fund. It will be used to fund research and development centres in partnership with universities and research organisations in the UAE, as well as individual research projects in various universities in the country. Part of the funding will be used to establish physical infrastructure of applied R&D centres in academic and research institutions and local companies, according to Dr. Eesa Bastaki,

CEO of ICT Fund. He added that this will support “basic research and applied R&D initiatives” with the aim of developing new ICT products and services. The fund will focus on wireless technology, security and encryption, broadband technology, satellite communications, sensor area networks, and areas of “vital national interest” related to ICT, Bastaki said. “We will invest heavily this year; we have planned to fund a myriad of research projects, several start-ups, and many incubators. The forecasted investment-spending for R&D in 2011 is AED 22 million for research projects.”

Cisco invests $10m into Egypt ICT Money aimed at small businesses in order to support job creation

The UAE is already a local leader in technology.

He added that the core objectives of the fund are to support research and development, incubators and start-up businesses.




CISCO HAS ANNOUNCED that it will invest $10 million into small businesses that provide innovative products, services and solutions, to start a sustainable model of job creation and economic development in Egypt. Cisco will also take part in a multi-stakeholder collaboration to encourage further investment into the Egyptian economy from local, regional and global organisations. “In addition to strategic investments, Cisco assists governments across the globe with ongoing advice, access to international best practices, and a vast array of state-of-the-art technology solutions,” said John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco. “We believe there is growth potential in Egypt’s ICT sector and are committed to supporting Egypt’s, as well as MENA’s, long-term goals. It is therefore appropriate for Cisco to make this investment.”

The world’s largest car builder has


said that it will always produce apps for iOS first from now on. DSGI IN NEW ANALYTICS USE UK retailer DSGi has announced that it will use analytics to help it plan new store locations. Cisco hopes to stir IT innovation in Egypt.


ICT investment in Egypt has doubled between 2001 and 2010 and continues to grow, according to Cisco; however, ICT penetration remains low. Cisco has predicted that the deregulation of the telecom sector, the dramatic expansion of technology use by the younger generation, and continued investment will accelerate usage in the country.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Severn Trent in the UK is using virtualisation to help its workforce become more mobile. IT SAVES LLOYDS BG £2.2BN Consolidation of its IT infrastructure has helped to save the UK’s Lloyds Banking Group £2.2bn ($3.55bn).



SAUDI ARABIA: IT security distributor ComGuard has delivered the first EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker v7 (CEH v7) training

DIC highlights women Freezone teams up with Google to host workshops aimed at increasing female involvement in the local IT industry.

in Saudi Arabia in association with


Global Knowledge – KSA. The EC

DUBAI INTERNET CITY AND GOOGLE hosted two workshops last month at the Dubai Knowledge Village Conference Centre, geared towards helping NGOs and women entrepreneurs in the technology sector strengthen their online presence and exposure. The events, called Google Serve for Notfor-Profits and Google Serve for Women in Technology, took place on June 23rd. Professionals from the participating NGOs had the chance to take place in discussions around online advertising, and how to use the web to develop and enhance an NGO. There was also be sessions specifically geared towards helping female engineers, students, entrepreneurs and business-owners to build successful online businesses in IT. “DIC is particularly delighted to support Google’s initiative to host this workshop. These are commendable initiatives by technology leaders who are committed to knowledge sharing. The digital age has reached its

Council is a member-based organisation that certifies individuals in various eBusiness and information security skills. Global KnowledgeKSA is one of 35 EC-Council training partners in the world and the only authorised training centre for ECCouncil in Saudi Arabia that participated in the launch of CEH v7. GCC: Smart solutions provider Amricon has launched a webbased information management system for transport authorities in the Middle East called eVehicle registration. “The eVehicle registration solution uses advanced RFID technology that allows transport authorities to store, verify and manage data about a vehicle securely and effectively. This helps

DIC and Google teamed up to promote women in IT.

zenith, making web communications and strategies a driving force in the success of a business. Given the essential role and the array of available opportunities it offers, it is important to be equipped with the appropriate skills,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, director, Business Development, DIC before the event. Google also hosted several interactive sessions in which workshop participants could interact with Google executives and experts on a one-on-one basis.

to streamline processes, boost productivity and reduce costs,” said Moosa Al-Amri, CEO of Amricon. Amricon’s solution is designed to use a smart chip situated on the windscreen to provide a hasslefree vehicle registration process. UAE: The UAE’s second operator, Du, has successfully completed its LTE first pilot supporting mobile broadband speeds of up to 150 Mbps. The launch of LTE services is slated for the second half of 2011. Recently, Du upgraded its network to DC-HSPA+ technology and launched 42 Mbps mobile broadband services to its customers in the country. Hatem Bamatraf, senior vice president for network development at Du, said: “We are in the process of selecting and cooperating with the right partners, to enable our customers to be among the first users of LTE in the world.”

Mubarak to pay for information black-out GOVERNMENT

OUSTED EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT Hosni Mubarak and two former officials have been fined $90 million by an Egyptian administrative court for cutting mobile and internet services during protests January’s protests, according to Reuters. A source in the courts told Reuters that Mubarak was fined $33.6m, former prime minister Ahmed Nazif was fined $6.7m, and the former Interior minister Habib al-Adli was fined $50.5m. It said both are guilty of “causing damage to the national economy”.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

du to partner HP for recycling efforts BUSINESS

DU WILL PARTNER with HP ME to launch an initiative targeting the reduction of technology waste in the Emirates by recycling. The programme, called HP Planet Partners Programme, has been integrated into every du office and encourages customers to recycle toner cartridges, used in printers and photocopy machines. “Even as we grow as a company, we need to be sensitive to ensure the reduction in our ecological footprint.” said Hala Badri, executive VP, Brand and Communications, du.



The Emperor’s New Clothes Last month, Microsoft showed off Windows 8 for the first time, and surprised many within the industry. Arabian Computer News editor Ben Furfie considers the ramifications of Microsoft’s move away from the traditional desktop interface.


or the past 16 years, operating systems have seen very little in the way of innovation, especially in how they look. Windows 95 was the last major overhaul in what we think of as an operating system, but even the changes that NeXT (which eventually became the foundation of Apple’s Mac OSX) brought with it didn’t move it too far away from Microsoft’s original vision for the GUI focused OS. Most of the innovation in recent years has been confined to the mobile space, as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems battle it out for supremacy. These operating systems are a different breed from


Arabian Computer News | July 2011

their desktop-bound brethren; designed from the ground up for the realities of these new devices, they shed many of the obsolete – and often insecure – technologies found in the likes of Windows. So when Microsoft announced that Windows 8 would be released for both desktops and tablets, it was met with understandable derision by many in the technology press and analyst circles: myself included. To be fair, Microsoft isn’t known for fixing something that isn’t broken; especially when it is one of its core cash cows. So most of us who decried the announcement as Microsoft not getting it understandably believed Microsoft was going to try and force


MICROSOFT HQ Head Office: Redmond, WA Founded: 1975 CEO: Steve Ballmer Revenues: $62.484bn Employees: 89,000 Focus: Consumer, SoHo, midmarket, enterprise, government


“Few – if any – journalists or analysts honestly believed that Microsoft would move its desktop strategy away from the tried and tested approach. an operating system designed for the era of the desktop, with its mouse and keyboard interface, on devices from the era of touch and simplicity. Well, I’ll be the first to admit that I was forced to eat my words when Microsoft posted the first demonstration of Windows 8...right after I picked my jaw off the ground. Few – if any – journalists or analysts honestly believed that Microsoft would move its desktop strategy away from the tried and tested approach introduced by Windows 95, but it has. The logic behind the move became apparent during the video games trade show E3, which also happened last month, when Microsoft showed off the final piece of the puzzle – the new dashboard for its Xbox 360 console, which again is based on the Metro system introduced by Windows Phone 7. But what does it all mean for CIOs who are eventually going to have to implement the new operating system? Well, first things first, it means that testing and authorisations procedures are going to have to speed up, and significantly. The time it currently takes businesses to test and adopt a new operating system is quite frankly ridiculous; and as Apple and Google increasingly pile pressure

on Microsoft to innovate further, the faster and faster the new versions are going to come. And sorry, but you’re just going to have to deal with it. It also means that Microsoft is adapting to the current trend of consumerisation. This has the potential to fundamentally shift the way that people interact with their computers; as evidenced by the touch-centric design. However, before you start getting flustered about the impact it will have on the enterprise suitability of Windows, it actually has its benefits. The new system organises and simplifies the way programs are displayed. It has the potential to ease people into a virtualised way of working, where programs are streamed to them, rather than installed locally. Another area that Microsoft has hinted at that could have wide reaching ramifications is ability to create fully fledge programmes using HTML5 and CSS. While it would be unrealistic to expect SAP or Oracle to move their ERP solutions away from C++, the implications for industries such as hospitality or retail to overhaul their front facing applications is enormous.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011


1955 (General Motors)


1964 (IBM)


1969 (AT&T Bell)


1979 (Digital Research)


1981 (IBM/Microsoft)

PC DOS 2.0

1982 (IBM/Microsoft)

Mac OS

1984 (Apple)


1985 (Microsoft)


1987 (IBM/Microsoft)


1989 (NeXT Computer)


1989 (Psion)


1991 (GNU Project)

Windows 95

1995 (Microsoft)

Windows CE

1996 (Microsoft)

Windows Mob 2000 (Microsoft) Symbian

2001 (Symbian/Psion)


2002 (Apple)


2007 (Apple)


2008 (Google)

Windows 7

2009 (Microsoft)


2010 (Microsoft)


2011 (Google)

Of course, it’s important to note that the traditional desktop will be available, but to insist on using it will defeat the point of why Microsoft is changing the game. However, for the time being, it’s important to remember that all Microsoft has shown is a preview of the OS. But what it has shown is enough to get me excited about what the future holds of enterprises and Windows.




t its recent global partner event in Las Vegas, EMC was keen to stress the rising issue of Big Data, especially because of how easy the cloud makes it not only to store, but also create such large volumes of information. The company went as far as to warn that Big Data is one of the main threats facing CIOs today; not only because of the sheer amount of storage that it requires, but also because locked away within that data is a huge vault of valuable information. Due to the nature of the businesses that are creating Big Data currently, the Middle East is one of the key front lines for the company. In particular, oil, gas, and geological survey related businesses are at most risk of being swamped by the phenomenon. EMC also warned that companies that might not traditionally considered Big Data generators need to begin planning for the inevitable arrival of the issue on their doorsteps. According to EMC, the main catalyst for this growth in Big Data is the arrival of customer relationship management, and enterprise resource management tools that are useful to enterprises, as well as an upswing in effective use of business intelligence. Added to that, a rise in the number of companies that are being affected by legislation requiring the storing of all documentation for a set number of years for auditing purposes is increasing pressure on CIOs to not only manage these data volume, but derive data from it. “The term Big Data is becoming commonplace in the IT industry and typically refers to significantly large sets of data,” explained Wael El Nadi, technology solutions director at EMC Turkey, Emerging Africa, and the Middle East. “Data sets become Big Data when their depth and breadth become awkward for analysts to develop and manage with the goal of deriving business insight effectively (or efficiently). “When a company is amassing data assets measured in terabytes with rapid growth rates, the sheer volume of storage and access operations creates new performance challenges that traditional architectures often cannot scale to meet,” he added. “As more data-generating systems come online, the opportunity is introduced to mine and analyse these sources.”


Data explosion With more and more data being created, enterprises are entering into a new era of storage and cost. But can CIOs turn this traditional cost base into a value centre? Ben Furfie investigates.

The types of data and the way it is analysed is also important, he warned. “A common set of data may be needed for different types of analytics or reporting such as transactional/batch oriented type applications versus analytical/intensive computational applications. These methods can be accurate and valuable, but can also skew results by introducing margin of error or worse, hiding true informational gems through statistical smoothing,” he added. However, despite those challenges, El Nadi said that the payoff is worth the trouble. “The need to leverage real-time business information to stay competitive, retain customers, and maintain quality standards is more prevalent than ever. IT organisations need to balance managing volumes of data and the need for speed by implementing technology that addresses both in a cost-effective solution.” One of EMC’s main messages is that Big Data can’t be tackled by conventional means of building in more storage. In fact, that approach only exacerbates the issue at the core

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

of Big Data – large volumes of data which act as nothing more than a cost base. It’s something that EMC Software Group (ESG) was founded to tackle. “When trying to solve emerging Big Data challenges, customers have several new options,” he said. “ESG is committed to solving performance and capacity scale issues without buying more of the same; for example database instances, servers/compute power, additional disk drives/storage capacity, and so on. “For example, with Greenplum, businesses are able to realise immediate value from their information assets value that was previously

EMC FACT FILE Head Office: Hopkinton, MA Founded: 1979 CEO: Joseph Tucci Revenues: $17.015bn Employees: 48,500 Focus: Information management, virtualisation, security


unattainable due to technology limitations” he continued. “Businesses are able to quickly extract accurate and relevant answers from all forms of digital assets. Users are able to incorporate near real-time analytics in their day-to-day decision-making processes without re-engineering underlying business applications and systems. As new data sources become available, executive management teams are in a position to harvest the value from new information assets without significant decision support system redesign.” This ability to quickly utilise and analyse data is going to become increasingly important for enterprises, especially as their rivals begin to take advantage of the speed and flexibility offered by such Big Data solutions. However, the way the information is

EL NADI: Big Data is a major threat for CIOs.

“Data sets become Big Data when their depth and breadth become awkward for analysts to develop and manage, with the goal of deriving business insight.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

stored and analysed is as important to how effective the data mining is, as much as where it is stored. “IT organisations can deliver on Big Data requirements without the cost and complexity required by traditional database management systems,” he said. “For example, EMC Greenplum DCA avoids risk with its vertically integrated stack. As data volumes grow and new data sources are brought online, administrators can expand their existing environments by adding nodes or racks as needed with minimal configuration or application downtime. The EMC Greenplum software automatically redistributes a workload based on its native MPP-enabled architecture.” This flexibility, he claimed, will give enterprises and their data architects the tools to manage and control not only the flow of data, but also prioritise certain types of data over others. “Data architects are empowered to control the physical data storage configuration to optimise access speeds based on how business users and analytical applications will use the data,” he added. The key difference is the combination of hardware and software, something demonstrated by the announcement of flash-based storage arrays. “If you look at our database software, it is representative of the next generation of data warehouse and advanced analytics technology that enables companies to realise significant value from their Big Data assets” claimed El Nadi. “Where traditional approaches introduced limitations when data volumes scaled beyond old architecture’s capabilities. EMC Greenplum is tackling those limitations in an easy to manage, high performance, massively scalable solution.” The company is also aware of the growing need to demonstrate the value of any new IT solution. “The appliance will require material upfront investment,” he admitted, but countered that any new database management does. “However, the benefits can be realised quickly with features, such as fast data loads. “Business intelligence reports and advanced analytics can be completed quicker, enabling near real-time decision support,” he added. “Because data loads and analytics can be executed in the database leveraging the massive parallel processing architecture, enterprise architects have new opportunities for system and server consolidation.”



The online home of







Networking vendor set to pump funds into country in an effort to help foster start ups.

Vendor unveils first images of its upcoming operating system for both PCs and tablets.

MOST READ 1 Sega opens new studio 2 Turkey arrests 32 suspected Anons 3 Mars IT distribution GM steps down 4 2m Samsung Smart TVs sold 5 Seagate signs Redington in ME





Software vendor planning to further capitalise on its recent wins in the region.

Government looks to help encourage locals to found more tech-focused companies.


No one should be managing the internet; no one should censor the internet. The internet is much bigger than officials’ policies and filtering, and it goes beyond their imagination and control.” Reader Abu Kamal displays his disdain for Turkish plans to filter internet access.


Will you continue to use Playstation Network after the recent hack?

16% 16% 22% 14% 29% Yes, I believe my data is now safe.


I’ll continue using No, I’m worried it despite the that my data may breach. be stolen again.

Maybe. But I’ll wait and see if the fixes stop the hackers.

No, I’m selling my PlayStation and buying another console.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

MOST READ ACN STORIES 1 UAE to invest in ICT startups 2 Cisco: 15bn mobile devices by ‘15 3 Public cloud needs global standards 4 Microsoft unveils Windows 8 5 Web companies test out IPv6



The number of companies that participated in last month’s IPv6 day. The event saw many of the largest web and tech firms test out their IPv6 infrastructure.


The amount in Dirihams that the UAE government is set to invest in an attempt to foster a culture of technology entrepreneurism.


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PCs vendors risk losing out to tablets GARTNER BUSINESS Every month, Arabian Computer News scours the web to find you the

statistics and figures you need to know to do your jobs well.

Securing future revenue Revenue growth slow amongst the largest security software vendors, as innovation is currently focused on start ups and emerging technologies, reveals Gartner. GARTNER


Despite a strong revenue growth in the security software sector during 2010, all but one of the top five companies failed to record growth at or above the market average. The latest figures from Gartner shed light on a sector whose growth is being driven by players outside of the top four. Despite global revenues of $16.5 billion – up 12% from the $14.7 billion recorded in 2009 – market leader Symantec recorded one of the lowest revenue increases of the year. The vendor – whose properties include both consumer and enterprise security business – saw growth of 5.8% during the year, less than half that of the market rate. Its nearest rival, McAfee didn’t fare much

Symantec 18.9 McAfee 10.4 Trend Micro 6.3

IBM EMC Others

2010 Market Share

4.9 3.8 55.7





3121.6 1711.8






Trend Micro





2010 Revenues ($m) better. Despite gaining market share on Symantec, the company – which was bought by Intel last year – also failed to achieve anywhere close to the average market growth. And at only 7.9%, the company also failed to make any significant ground on its much larger rival, remaining a little over half its size. Trend Micro and IBM, third and fourth in the market respectively, also failed to record strong growth. EMC was the only company in the top five that saw growth that was stronger than the market rate. It recorded revenue growth of 25.6% – double that of the market average –

Products within the security market are undergoing rapid evolution, in terms of both new delivery models, and new technologies.”


Arabian Computer News | July 2011

thanks to its RSA division. Whether or not the company will be able to maintain that level of growth is unclear, especially after it suffered a major breach in security earlier this year. That breach is thought to have resulted in its SecurID being compromised. Indeed, both the hacking of the International Monetary Fund and American defence contractor Lockheed Martin are thought to have been the result of the earlier breach. According to Gartner, the rest of the market grew at an average rate of 15.9%. “Products within the security market are undergoing rapid evolution, in terms of both new delivery models – with security as a service showing increasing popularity – and new technologies being introduced, often by start up companies,” explained Ruggero Contu, principal research analyst at Gartner.



Mo Laher

Pie in the sky Moving data to the cloud requires an educated approach, argues Dell’s Mo Laher.


oving data to the cloud – private or public – requires an educated approach. The ever-rising mountains of data created by the Middle East’s increasingly IT dependent companies, has long provided a headache for the region’s CIOs. Fuelled by an increasing need to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions, the requirements for storing and managing this wealth of information has long since outstripped the capability of traditional data storage infrastructure. Luckily for Middle East IT managers, a new generation of intelligent storage technology that moves data into the cloud means they can now access near-limitless storage capacity but also implement incredibly intelligent analytical tools that could bring about a new era of informed business decision-making. The obvious benefits of this new technology have seen the region’s CIOs put intelligent storage amongst their top of priorities for 2011 according to a Gartner report earlier this year. But as Dave Brooke pointed out when he spoke to ACN earlier in the year, the rush to move data into the cloud delivers some major challenges for

CIOs who must minimise the interruption to business operations whilst maximising the potential of this new technology has to deliver a commercial advantage. Whilst the arguments in favour of an IT upgrade are clear, less apparent is how much will be set aside ensuring IT teams have the skills to make it a success. Dell’s Education Services we work with IT departments around the world and have seen first hand the problems new IT infrastructure can place on unprepared IT teams and the knock-on consequences for business performance. The problem for Middle East CIOs is moving data into the cloud is not a minor software upgrade. It represents a major shift in how IT staff manage and maintain IT infrastructure and requires a level of expertise beyond plug and play. As Brooke pointed out “cloud migration is a progression. It’s not something you can do overnight”. To deliver the productivity gains on offer from intelligent storage systems, specialist knowledge is required to ensure this type of technology is implemented effectively. Key to this is suitable and locally-relevant training that helps IT staff understand how to incorporate the cloud and intelligent storage into their unique corporate technology environment.

The problem for Middle East CIOs is that move data to the cloud is not a minor software upgrade. It represents a major shift in management.” 20

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

For IT managers under pressure from above to justify every major investment, there are two stages of training they must undertake to ensure measureable improvements in business performance result from the installation of intelligent data storage. This fi rst accompanies the ramp-up stage and involves understanding how to configure and operate the technology at a more basic level. With such a complex piece of kit it is essential your IT team has the expertise to continue in their day-to-day operation. This means simplifying their administration role, gaining a fundamental understanding of SAN and NAS implementation, optimising your resource utilisation and improving disaster recovery and data availability. After this initial ramp-up stage your IT team can start to explore the data analytical services on offer and understand what hardware and software features are relevant for your business’ needs. Middle East IT budgets are reported to have seen a 6.7% rise in 2011 and the pressure is on IT departments to justify this increased spend and deliver real, measurable benefits. Key to their success will be fully trained IT staff able to utilise the latest analytical data storage systems to help their organisations grow through informed business decision-making. Mo Laher is the Head of Services for Dell Middle East


Fadi Hani

Saudi Arabia set to boom on the back of ICT General manager of Avaya Saudi Arabia Fadi Hani believes that the Kingdom’s current investment drive will pay dividends for its position as the biggest ICT market in the region.


he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessed fast-paced growth, leading it to become one of the most important territories for Avaya in the emerging markets region. ICT companies in the Kingdom are witnessing a burgeoning customer demand for business collaboration systems, equipment, software and services. Saudi Arabia has also seen government investment in the public sector increasing at a phenomenal pace. All of these developments will cause global corporations to invest further in Saudi Arabia either by setting up operations or expanding into this market. As well, we will see an increase in activity of Saudi-based companies in key business sectors. This expected surge in commercial activity will require sophisticated technology and communications systems to complement the projects in the Kingdom, ensuring that they are efficient, cost-effective and responsive to customers and other stakeholders. The government in Saudi Arabia invests heavily in the public sector in an effort to improve public service offerings for the betterment of overall living conditions for the Kingdom’s residents. The three sectors that receive the most funding include interiors, education and healthcare.

It is education in particular, that the government in Saudi Arabia is investing in, constructing over a thousand schools, all of which will require suitable ICT infrastructures. These schools will also be equipped with IT labs to educate the forthcoming generation of students with the latest technologies available. Higher educational facilities will receive even more funding to ensure that graduates have relevant skill sets to address the issue of employment opportunities in the Kingdom. Investment in higher educational facilities include the expansion of existing universities to include new students and staff, and upgrade of their IT systems, as well as the building of new universities in more remote areas of the Kingdom. These facilities will receive considerable amounts of government funding for ICT solutions because of the education sector’s objective to impart the most up-to-date knowledge on the latest technologies in the market. The overwhelming majority of the Saudi population (over 70%) are under the age of 40 which is one of the main drivers of investment in education because the government wants to ensure that the new generation is getting the best ICT education and hand-on experience in technol-

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

ogy available. Especially with the planned projects in the Kingdom, investing in ICT education in Saudi’s youth will prepare them to be part of the existing and future developments in the Kingdom. At Avaya, we are also investing in local talent in Saudi Arabia to help us identify and develop new opportunities and expand our regional customer base. In the next five to 10 years, Saudi Arabia will witness tremendous growth in its information and communications technology sector, fueled by a continuous stream of investment in education, healthcare and interiors. Saudi Arabia remains a key market for ICT companies in the region, and strong driver of the wider regional market. The government continues to play a critical role in developing the country’s ICT sector and boosting its overall economic growth. As Saudi Arabia embarks on the liberalisation of the ICT sector to enable changes in communication and infrastructure technologies, this will encourage the growth of new services and increase investment from the country’s private sector in healthcare and education. Fadi Hani is general manager, Avaya KSA



Gerhard Schlabschi

Virtualisation’s value The transformation of datacentres is having a huge impact on the cost benefits that virtualisation technology can deliver, argues Oracle’s Gerhard Schlabschi.


T needs are evolving rapidly as datacentres transform into service centres that deliver applications on demand and respond to changing customer requirements with speed and agility. With users demanding access to applications and services 24x7, service-level agreements have become stringent. In addition, cloud computing is gaining in popularity and taking a foothold in datacentres, reflecting user needs to get services at any time. Things simply must work together, and happen faster, in order to satisfy an increasing appetite for information and services. Users are less accepting of traditional build it yourself philosophies, with many now demanding resources just in time. As a result, there is a need for greater optimisation and efficiency in how software and solutions that power datacentres are deployed and managed. These trends are pushing IT departments to find better ways to integrate, provision, deploy, and manage systems at a faster pace without straining already burdened budgets. Virtualisation is a key technology used in datacentres to optimise resources. Many

companies believe they have virtualisation all sewn up but is this really the case? While virtualisation has been around for many years, most businesses have only just begun to touch the surface of the savings can be made from virtualisation. Many companies have focused on sever, and specifically x86, virtualisation but is this really the issue that is keeping CIOs awake at night? CIOs need to take a holistic view of the data centre so while fixing x86 utilisation is important it doesn’t take into account the rest of an organisations infrastructure. Indeed, virtualisation at the server and operating system level no longer is sufficient. With users looking for a cloud experience, simply provisioning and delivering an operating environment falls short. The truth is that while virtualisation helps with utilisation, it also adds complexity. As complexity is the biggest hurdle to IT efficiency and a move to cloud computing so businesses need to ensure seamless integration into datacentre management from applications to disk when considering virtualisation.

Virtualisation impacts almost every aspect of the datacentre infrastructure, so businesses need to consider how easy it is to integrate.” 22

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

When you look at all the virtualisation technologies available from x86 to Unix to storage to desktop it is easy to see why this complexity exists. Without an integrated solution and an overarching open management system an organisation that virtualises its infrastructure can fi nd itself with silos of virtualised systems with siloed management. Virtualisation needs to be completely integrated in the technology it supports to really deliver on expectations and facilitate cloud computing. The first wave of virtualisation focused on consolidating under-utilised resources to lower energy costs, reduce the data centre footprint, save on equipment, and build standard operating system images to provision new systems faster. While server virtualisation succeeded at standardising and automating operating system builds, it remained focused on the operating system layer. It led to the efficient provisioning of physical servers through the use of virtual machines — yet lacked integration with applications and other software running in virtual environments. Virtualisation impacts almost every aspect of the datacentre infrastructure so businesses need to consider how easy it is to integrate with the existing infrastructure. Gerhard Schlabschi is senior business development manager EMEA Hardware at Oracle.

ACN 100

ME enterprises not convinced of cloud value The first Arabian Computer News 100 conference was dominated by argument over the controversial technology.


Arabian Computer News | July 2011

ACN 100


iddle East enterprises still need to be convinced of the value of cloud computing, was the conclusion of the first ACN 100 conference. During the panel discussions, C-level executives from regional enterprises questioned whether cloud is simply hype, and whether the local infrastructure is ready to for major deployments of different flavours of cloud. Arun Tewary, chief information officer, for Emirates Flight Catering said that he did not see the end user as driving the promotion of cloud computing, and said that there are still essential questions around cloud services.

“Cloud computing, I personally think, is a great hype, which is being driven by the vendors only,” Tewary commented. “If you look at the evolution of the IT industry, whichever phase it went through, all those things like ERP worked because there was a genuine need felt by the user community, they were looking for a solution. Adoption and participation in the development of such solutions was very high from the user community. This is the only phase that I have seen that is purely coming from the vendor side. “There needs to be more transparency, clarity, and a large amount of reassurance as to where is my data sitting, how accessible is it to me and how quickly can I get my data back?” he added.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Ayman Dwidar, Blades Business Manager, Cloud Team Lead Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa, HP said that cloud technology definitely offered benefits, particularly to SMBs, and that vendors have a role to play in helping companies to understand the technology. The cloud market is expected to reach $143bn, in coming years. “We believe as vendors that cloud is very important to organisations. It brings the business closer to IT, and IT closer to business, and it can enhance the business output. We need to have clarity and transparency, and that vendors have a role in facilitating the arrival of cloud computing, and helping users get value,” said Dwidar. While there are security concerns around the cloud, these problems can be addressed through different models, and companies should not be put off by the ‘hype’ surrounding cloud, according to Marcus Hennig, CTO of network security specialist Astaro. “We are already offering cloud services cloud promises much, it promises you will have more reliability, more scalability, and flexibility. These promises are the essentials of cloud, so they should be perceived not as a hype, but as a real technology, which opens new opportunities for mid-size and big enterprises,” he said. Yasser Zeineldin, chief executive officer, eHosting DataFort, said that various models of cloud are already being delivered in the region, but that customers would still need to see proven value. “Cloud is a variety of things - software-asa-service is already a reality, predominantly in SMB. The part where I believe there is a mix of hype and reality, is on infrastructureas-a-service, and platform-as-a-service, especially in the Middle East. The adoption is slightly slower in that respect. “I think we are going to see gradual adoption, but unless the customers see the value, and the concerns on security, service level management, data availability, unless all of these concerns are addressed, then no matter what the hype, they are never going to go that [cloud] route,” he added. Some multinational organisations operating in the region have already embraced cloud in a range of guises, but are facing challenges specific to the Middle East. Nigel Hattersley regional IT director, Starwood


ACN 100

sions a mix of panel discus The conference was partners. dor ven by ted hos s and workshop

The panel di sc particularly ussion on cloud compu he ting was vendor part ated, with CIOs and th ners discus e sing the tech select nology.

HP Middle East was one of the specially selected conference partners.

Comments about Arabian Computer News’ first conference were positive. Audience participation was a big part of the conference.

CIOs from comp anies as diverse at Emirates NBD, OSN, and DHL were in atte ndance.

ACN 100 - THE VERDICT Despite competing for mindshare with the many events that happen in Dubai’s conference season, the turnout and feedback from the first ACN conference was amazing. We’ll be looking to host more in the coming year, so keep your eyes open for more details. portunities d a number of op The event also ha with each other. k or for CIOs to netw

ll were particularly we BlueCoat’s breakouts k of sales talk. lac the for s CIO by recieved

Those in attendance were a mix of government Astaro talks about security on the cloud and

and private sector CIOs and IT directors.

the impact on the region’s enterprises.


Arabian Computer News | July 2011

CIOs from a number of the region’s largest companies took part in the panels.

ACN 100


One of the main discussion points was whether or not the grass really is greener on the cloud computing bank of the IT river.

Hotels and Resorts, pointed out that his company has moved 70 of its hotels in Europe onto a reservation system that is cloud based, but that for the Middle East, there are hurdles that would not make this possible yet. “We’ve been seeing components of cloud computing for many, many years now, as we centralise email, finance applications and other non-business critical applications,” said Hattersley. “From a Middle East perspective, I don’t believe we are quite there yet to handover the entire environment to a cloud scenario. Although I have seen it successfully occur in Europe and America. The difference is based purely on cost, and the ability to provide sustainable SLAs on networks over a large geographical area. I don’t believe the Middle East is quite there yet. Hattersley said that poor bandwidth would prevent companies from gaining economies of scale by serving multiple countries in the Middle East from a single site. “From the Middle East perspective there still isn’t the cross country availability that would enable a truly integrated cloud environment. We can’t host services here to provide to other Middle Eastern countries,” he said.

eHosting DataFort’s CEO Yasser Zeineldin spoke about the state of managed services.



The value cloud computing is expected to reach in the coming years. However, CIOs expressed concerns over the availability of key technology.


The number of CIOs that were in attendance at the first ACN 100 conference in Dubai. Arabian Computer News | July 2011

The panel agreed that the lack of strong infrastructure, and the lack of enforceable service level agreements were still a big problem for the region, however, there were signs of improvement among operators, mostly those in the UAE, in their ambition to deliver better services. “The telco providers realise they have to change, and that they have to provide much more reliable services, and they are working on the infrastructure set up on an accelerated basis, to enhance this,” Dwidar commented. “Their behaviour, to commit on specific performance, or specific quality of service to the end user, I see a major change in this behaviour. Telco service providers see that cloud is a great opportunity for them, and they know they cannot realise this opportunity without robust infrastructure.” The panel also touched on issues of application readiness and different models of cloud computing, security issues with the model, and which direction the Middle East is likely to take on cloud. The panel also discussed whether cloud would lead to unemployment in the IT sector, and whether academia needed to adjust curricula to reflect emerging cloud trends.


IBM @ 100

IBM @ On 16th June 1911, the company that would become International Business Machines otherwise known as IBM or ‘Big Blue’ was founded in New York. Financier Charles Flint, a financier, engineered the merger of four existing companies in the fledgling areas of business automation products such as time-keeping systems, weighing scales, and, most importantly punched card equipment, not to mention automatic meat slicers and coffee grinders.


ith its early expertise using Herman Hollerith’s punch card tabulation machines in areas such as the US Census, the Computing Tabulating Recording Corporation (CTR), would go on to become a pioneer of early computing. In 1914 Thomas J Watson Sr, joined the company from the National Cash Register Company, taking on the role of president a year later. Watson was to remain with IBM for the next 42 years, defining the company’s culture, leading IBM to become a leader in many fields of computing and information technology, and forging a multinational business that also demonstrated progressive corporate thinking and policies. Mark Sutton spoke to Takreem El Tohamy, general manager of IBM Middle East and Africa, and himself a 26 years veteran


of the company, on what IBM has achieved in the region to date, how it is marking the centenary, and what it has planned next. How are you marking the centenary in the Middle East? We are doing several things, we will have an exhibit in Abu Dhabi in September which will be a collection of physical and virtual experiences to focus on the lessons, the principles, and how IBM contributed to making the world better. IBM is publishing a book, which will also detail these experiences. It will also focus on the themes of transformation, leadership, innovation, technology and societal impact, how IBM impacts the places where it operates. The third thing we are doing is called Celebration of Service. The chairman of the company committed that each employee,

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

of our 400,000 employees worldwide, will donate eight hours to help organisations in the community, be it schools or charity organisations or so on. We will also hold a series of lectures, with senior executives from IBM or subject matter experts who will be touring the world, talking about aspects of what IBM did in the past 100 years and what are the ideas for the next 100 years, how do we see the future, how do we predict the future, how do you see the world working together and so on. There is also a series of three films, which we will release. One of these is called 100 x 100, which takes each year since 1911 and focuses on one of the breakthroughs or the inventions from IBM in that year. These are not only technological breakthroughs, but it will talk about how, for example, IBM introduced social insurance for employees, even before the US did; or hiring women or

IBM @ 100



When IBM was founded in 1911, the Ottoman Empire ruled over much of what is today the Middle East, the British Empire was at its height and the many of the countries today didn’t even exist. IBM has been involved in many of these country’s infrastructure from the beginning.

people from minorities and making this a firm policy inside IBM. The second film will talk about four stories where we feel IBM touched the world, including the invention of the bar code; the IBM PC, and the US space programme and how IBM was a technology provider to NASA and particularly the special role IBM played with the Apollo 13 mission. [in being able to get the ship back to earth]. The third movie will feature customer testimonials from around the world, and that will include a customer testimonial from the region. Why is the centenary so important to IBM? It is exciting to be working for a company that is 100 years and it is exciting that the company is at its best - if you look at the results for our financial year 2010, and also

for the first quarter, you will see that IBM is showing record figures, and the stock is above $170 now, [as of May 2011], a record price. The company is 100 years old and at its best, especially when you consider there are not so many companies that are 100 years old, and certainly not in information technology. At the 100 years mark, what we want to do is to stop and reflect on what happened in the last 100 years and see the impact that IBM has had on the world, either from pioneering the science of information technology or changing how the world is working together or inventing the modern corporation. If you look at the science of information technology there are so many things that IBM invented, things that are maybe not important to people now, but they were milestones at the time. For example, the magnetic hard drive for PCs and larger ma-

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chines were invented by IBM; IBM invented the floppy disk; IBM invented the punch card; IBM invented Fortran, the programming language and IBM played a very big part in inventing the Personal Computer. When the IBM PC came out, we gave the designs to the world, so it was not proprietary. Along with that IBM pioneered mainframes, supercomputers, and the relational database was also invented at IBM. We have also worked together with many industries on these developments - the bar code was invented at IBM, which has had a very big effect on the retail industry; IBM developed some of the earliest airline reservation systems, there have been lots of things that really affected how industries use information technology. We also invented the modern corporation, from the beginning we were a US company, then an international company, then a


IBM @ 100

multinational, and now we talk about being a globally integrated enterprise. How long has IBM been present in the Middle East? The region is extremely important to IBM. IBM started in the region in the 1940s, the first IBM office was in Bahrain, to be close to Saudi Aramco, and then we expanded from there to all the major countries and cities in the region. We have been in Egypt since 1954, and in some parts of North Africa, we were there even earlier, we were in Morocco in 1937. IBM has lots of history here.



The company opened its first office in the region shortly after the end of the Second World War.


The number of ‘scientific centres’ in the Gulf in the 1970s and 80s. There were only a handful worldwide.

Was most of the initial focus on the oil industry? Oil was one of the first customers, but we were in Egypt in 1954, and Egypt had no oil. We were always close to national projects around social insurance, around pensions, in the financial sectors, with banks and so on. What have been some of the milestones in the Middle East? IBM focused on building scientific centres in the region. In the ‘70s and the ‘80s, although the terms changed afterwards, IBM had something called ‘Scientific Centers’, one in Cairo and one in Kuwait, these were two of just a few scientific centers around the world. These scientific centers focused on areas around natural language support, work around speech recognition, around text recognition in Arabic. Lots of natural language support work for IBM products was done in these scientific centers, and IBM was a very active member in the design of Unicode to allow for all languages and for all companies, not just in our products. Was that work in conjunction with local organisations like universities? It was researchers from the [local?] environment and IBMers working together with IBM Labs, on things like the Arabic keyboard, having Arabic support on the operating systems, on end user applications - there was a lot of time spent on search engines, for example. In the region, in the past few years, we did several very interesting joint research agreements with universities in the region, to do work around nanotechnology and applications of nanotechnology. At King Abdulaziz


IBM Middle East’s GM Takreem El Tohamy.

IBM’s long history in the region is rich.

One of the very first clouds that IBM installed anywhere in the world was in Qatar, for example, with three of the universities there.” City for Science and Technology, they are doing research on IBM super computers, to get commercial levels of efficiency from solar cells, which will then be used in desalination. One of the very first clouds that IBM installed anywhere in the world was in Qatar, for example, with three of the universities in Qatar, and we made an announcement towards the end of last year about another cloud in Jordan with the Ministry of Education. What about the private sector? We have done lots of business initiatives, of course, with companies like Aramco and ADNOC; with eGovernment, we did lots of work with Dubai Municipality and Dubai Road and Transportation Authority, we did lots of work in banking with Emirates

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Bank - this is our life, to sell IT solutions to organisations, but there are other interesting milestones not directly related to selling something. What are your personal highlights? I would say lately the work that we are doing with the joint research agreements with the universities is special, because it touches on solving problems for the region, and putting the region’s issues on the IBM map. The programmes around KidSmart, the programmes around the local work force development and being able to contribute something to tens of thousands of local people to help them find better jobs and perform better in their jobs and serve their organisation better. These things are very important to me.


Rescue ME As the largest organiser of events in the Middle East, and landlord to some of the biggest names in the world, Dubai World Trade Centre can’t afford to lose data. But as we all know, accidents do happen. So just what did the organisation do to ensure that it and its clients aren’t put out of business when disaster strikes?


ubai is known as a city of skyscrapers. They have been used as metaphors for the emirate’s success, and its aspirations, as well as justifying Dubai’s claim to be a city of the future. Yet it all started with one. The Dubai World Trade Centre building. The 39-storey tower may be small by today’s standards, but when construction was completed in 1979, it dominated the landscape around. Today, the 149 meter tower does not even rank in the top 100


tallest buildings in Dubai. However, it – and the complex that has grown up around it – still has a huge impact on the commercial success of the emirate today. The company’s IT department manages infrastructure not only for the tower’s management, but also that of its tenants, which include Federal Express, General Motors, MasterCard, and the consulates of Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United States of America to name a few. It also provides IT infrastructure services to the eight hall convention centre next door, as well as the millions of visitors and

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hundreds of thousands of exhibitors it hosts each year. With so many clients, the company’s IT department can’t afford to make mistakes. However, as everyone knows, mistakes can and do happen. Recognising this, the company has, for a number of years, used various systems to provide it and its clients with backup and disaster recovery services. However, following its rapid expansion in recent years, the company recognised the need to expand, or overhaul its then current system. “Dubai World Trade Centre is one of the largest companies in Dubai, and it reflects on the reputation of the country,” states Galal El Tahan, senior manager of IT operations, corporate support services at DWTC, reinforcing the importance of the company having a solid backup and disaster recovery plan. “Our mission is to make Dubai the world’s leading destination for all major exhibitions, conferences and events, and to provide a world-class business networking platform with integrated endto-end services. “Business continuity is one of the highest priorities for DWTC, as we need to ensure that our business operations are up and running in the event of any disaster, so that our exhibitors and organisers have a sense of confidence in hosting their events with us,” he adds.

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The speed at which the company and its IT services could recover from a disaster was one of the crucial aspects of any new solution. “Since IT disaster recovery is an integral part of the entire business continuity framework, and our exhibitions and conferences depend heavily on the venue and exhibition management systems, we decided to invest in a disaster recovery solution.” Ironically, the company’s decision to implement a new disaster recovery solution was delayed by a disaster of a global making, as El Tahan reveals. “The decision to invest in disaster recovery was taken some time back, but due to the economic recession, the project was postponed.” However, despite the risk of delaying the much needed overhaul in disaster recovery protection, the recession brought with it a valuable change to revaluate the best option for providing the cover the company needed. “The initial plan was to build a facility for the disaster recovery site, but as organisational priorities changed, a decision was taken to outsource the project to an external service provider.” The lack of available liquidity – both from government, as well as commercial sources – resulted in a decision to move away from spending large amounts of money on capital assets. “The key reason for choosing a service provider was to



convert capital expenditure to operating expenditure by choosing a lease model, compared to building a new datacentre for ourselves,” he reveals. El Taneh adds that in light of the recession, and the new reality facing Dubai’s ambitions, it became clear that the decision to build its own datacentre no longer made financial sense, especially as it was only providing disaster recovery to its core systems, and not those of its many clients. However, settling on which outsourcing partner would be chosen was far from simple. The company decided it wasn’t in its best interests to restrict the providers based on geography. Added to that, the company already owned corporate infrastructure in the UK, and so was well versed with the actual limitations and benefits of non-local IT resources. Ultimately though, the company found partner that met its needs was based not only in the Middle East, but also in the same city. “After extensive research on who were the large players in the market, and their capabilities, we made an informed decision to choose eHosting Datafort as our service provider,” reveals El Tahen.“The key reasons we chose to work with eHDF was its state of the art datacentre facilities, its reputation within the market as one of the leading

GITEX is one of the largest events that DWTC manages, with over 3,500 vendors exhibiting.

Dubai World Trade Centre is one of the largest companies in Dubai, and its success and failures reflect on the reputation of the country.”

service providers in the region, and its strong client base.” The core services that are protected by the new disaster recovery system are the event and exhibition management system, its financial systems, and the company’s shared drives. “The event and exhibition management system is what controls the IT infrastructure at our venues and during exhibitions,” he says. “It is an internal system that manages the entire lifecycle of the events from the time the marketing team registers one, to the day the event is complete. This includes venue management, work orders, marketing functions, sales functions, customer base management, and financial related functions.” Because of this, the importance of the system cannot be underestimated. “Over the course of the event’s lifecycle, users need to access the event and exhibition management system to make and check updates,” he adds. “Everything from event planning, venue management, tracking and control, time control, to project management and reporting is EL TAHEN: The recession monitored and forced us to look at new and inmanaged by the novative ways of managing our system. disaster recovery strategy.


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The maximum number of hours DWTC has to get systems back online. Source: DWTC

“The system is therefore critical to DWTC’s business,” El Tahen states. “As such, the production site is hosted in our own datacentres, while the disaster recovery site is hosted at eHDF’s datacentre.” By co-locating its services between its own datacentre and eHDF’s facility, the company hopes that it can prevent the type of catastrophic data loss that could cripple not only DWTC itself, but also its many event partners. It also means that if there was a disaster across the company, its use of co-location means that it can run eHDF’s datacentre as a warm disaster recovery site. “In the case of a disaster, our recovery time objective is between six to 24 hours, which means that business requirements need to be recovered within a 24 hour period.”

Monday 10th October 2011, Armani Hotel, Dubai, UAE

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Closing the net Lindenberg Emirates knew it needed to introduce controls to internet access for its employees, but it didn’t want to strangle potential leads or innovation through blanket bans. In order protect its network from attack, while enabling its strategy of open access, it began considering universal threat management solutions.


roviding employees with internet access is a double edged blade. On the one hand, it can help improve productivity by expanding the information available. On the other, it can bring with it a number of security concerns and distractions that if left alone, can become enough to bring down a company. Recognising this, UAE-based engineering, procurement, and construction company Lindenburg Emirates decided it needed to introduce a way of mitigating these risks, while avoiding bringing in any technology that could hamper the ability of employees to make us of the internet. “We needed a solution that would give us the highest return on investment, while

PROJECT BRIEF Organisation: Lindenburg Emirates Industry: Construction Challenge: To overhaul its security infrastructure in order to protect its users and data, as well as conserve bandwidth by blocking unnecessary access to non-work websites.


addressing our major security concerns,” says Shaneez Hameed, senior IT administrator at Lindenberg Emirates. “Ideally, it needed to be in a single box.” At the beginning of the project, the company’s IT network compromised of design, construction, and project management tools, with no focused gateway for security. Those contained sensitive information about the company’s contracts and clients; information that was a prime target for hackers and criminals. The company also wanted a solution that would help to control not only inbound internet traffic, but also traffic originating from within its own IT infrastructure; namely it’s staff. However, it wasn’t only hacking and internal threats that had Hameed concerned. He was keen to avoid any potential disruption to the company’s networks, as access was crucial for project managers, and its clients. As such, he was also looking for a security solution that would afford the company’s network protection from bad traffic, such as distributed denial of service attacks. “The network covers sensitive information which was under constant threat from spyware and DDoS attacks,” he adds.

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Part of the issue was the company’s relatively open approach to allowing employees access to the internet. Access was given to all employees by default – however, this approach, while fostering a grateful workforce, also opened its networks to a variety of problems. The company was keen to continue providing internet access for its employees, but it wanted to ensure that the resource wasn’t being misused. “There are millions of potentially harmful sites harbouring illegal or inappropriate content and we needed to ensure that employees connecting to our network would be protected with the most advanced web filtering technology,” he says. “Because of this, we needed a strong firewall and IPS solution.” According to Hameed, the solution was to implement two Cyberoam appliances; one a CR250i, and another CR50i at the head office, with the latter working in gateway mode. The company did consider other solutions, such as Cisco’s ASA, but he said it failed to meet the criteria the company had set. Following the introduction of the Cyberoam solution, the company was able to


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The network covers sensitive information which was under constant threat from spyware and distributed denial of service attacks.” apportion internet and email access based on the individual and their need to access it. Mail access remained for everyone, but security and bandwidth management now define access, based on the user’s identity and the need for someone in that professional role to access certain functions. “I can now prioritise the organisation’s bandwidth usage as per business requirements, with more effective controls on which user consumes how much bandwidth (both upload and download) during any time of the day,” he reveals. The Cyberoam solution’s user threat management capabilities also enabled Hameed and his team to introduce identity based security that allows them to monitor individual users for suspicious activity. It also allowed the company to create user specific policies that can control exact what each individual can do with their computer and net access. In addition to being able to monitor each

individual employee, the new system has also enabled the company to bring in web content filtering. The web filtering is based upon the individual’s level of access, meaning that of the 82 categories listed, Hameed and his team are able to set individual access privileges. It means that while certain categories such as pornography are banned across the board, others such as entertainment, social media, and even job searches can be blocked for some, and enabled for others. “Cyberoam was instrumental to my effort in upgrading Lindenburg Emirates’ IT security infrastructure to be more secure, robust and scalable. It has radically transformed our infrastructure’s security and reliability in such a way that it makes downtime a rare event,” he adds. “It is an all-in-one solution for our total connectivity, productivity, and security needs.”



The number of security devices the company has deployed on its network to deal with potential threats.


The number of agencies that Lindenburg Emirates is registered as an approved contractor with.


The number of labourers the company employs across three sites. Source: Lindenburg Emirates

ABOUT LINDENBERG EMIRATES Located in the United Arab Emirates, with its head office in Abu Dhabi, the company specialises in contracting and construction on projects in the power, water and sewage sectors. Since it was founded just less than 10 years ago, it has worked on some of the biggest projects in the UAE, including Sadiyat and Al Reem islands, as well as conducting work on many of Abu Dhabi’s palaces.


Arabian Computer News | July 2011


Project Update Arabian Computer News provides an overview of the latest projects, both announced and completed, keeping you up to date with the latest developments in the region. Want to update your project’s progress, or have it included here? Email

MINISTRY OF HEALTH, UAE DU, IN PARTNERSHIP with the UAE Ministry of Health, USbased company Mobile Doctors 24-7 International and Ericsson, are working on launching a comprehensive mobile health service in the UAE, to be called Smart Health. This health service is comprised of three distinct classes; the first class being SMS-based health services. When a du subscriber joins any one of these services, they will receive one or two SMSs per day giving tips on their chosen service. du announced the QuitSmoke service in April, users can subscribe to it via SMS and will get one or two SMSs daily to encourage them on how to stay away from smoking and eventually quit.

UNIVERSAL AMERICAN SCHOOL DUBAI, UAE COLLABORATION SOLUTIONS provider, SMART Technologies, has announced that the Universal American School (UAS) in Dubai will be the first SMART Showcase School in the United Arab Emirates. The school was chosen because of its use of SMART products in 90% of classrooms, including the SMART Board interactive whiteboards and SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, which is installed on over 200 computers used by teachers and pupils. The K-12 school is using the products to enhance the learning experience for children delivering interactive lessons across all grades and a wide range of subject areas.

DEPARTMENT OF MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS UAE THE ABU DHABI Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) has been demonstrating the capabilities of its new Musharaka knowledge management solution. The knowledge management platform, which was developed for DMA by LINK Development and Smartlogic, was showcased to government organisations yesterday. The Musharaka platform integrates a number of different government systems, to provide better management of government data and better collaboration for the municipalities of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region and DMA itself.


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BANK OF JORDAN AMMAN, JORDAN THE BANK OF JORDAN has deployed anti-money laundering solutions from EastNets to help improve its compliance with banking regulations. The bank, which has headquarters in Amman, has implemented EastNets’ en.SafeWatch Filtering and en.SafeWatch Profiling anti-money laundering (AML) solutions, which will improve its internal processes and bring it into compliance with regulations being imposed by the Central Bank of Jordan’s Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Unit. The en.SafeWatch Filtering solution provides a central monitoring point to automate checking.

ZAWYA DUBAI, UAE DUBAI SUPERMARKET AND convenience store chain, Zawya, has, within the space of four months, implemented Oracle Applications to support its business in the UAE. Zawya is hoping to design and launch a new shopping format which is based on the popularity of smaller stores, using Oracle’s software. Zawya has so far completed two phases of a three-phase implementation and is using Oracle Retail merchandising and stores applications, Oracle eBusiness Suite Financials 12.1 and Oracle Database 11g, designed to create an integrated and flexible infrastructure.

AL MARKAZ ABU DHABI, UAE ETISALAT HAS ANNOUNCED that it will provide smart city services to Abu Dhabi’s Almarkaz light industrial development. The teleco signed an agreement with Waha Land Company, the real estate development arm of Waha Capital, to deploy smart city solutions to the development, which is being established outside of the UAE’s capital. The six square kilometre project is a mixed-use development including infrastructure, stores, warehouses and light industrial units. Etisalat will provide a telecom network, integrated communications and other smart city services and applications.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS UAE EHOSTING DATAFORT (EHDF) has provided the IT infrastructure to host the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and portal. The portal was developed by SPICA Computers to provide a central base which connects the websites of 70 UAE embassies around the world, to give a unified structure and management and ensure consistency of data. eHDF is supplying a range of services to support the portal, including databases, security and OS management, backup and storage along with 24/7 monitoring and service desk support.

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Arabian Computer News | July 2011

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Touching the future Cloud and virtualisation technology are drastically changing the way that business approach enterprise software. But exactly how are they shaping the software itself, and what impact are they having on business intelligence’s ability to collect data from them? By Nithyasree Trivikram


s businesses in the Middle East begin to implement virtualisation and look forward to the impact that cloud computing will have on their business’ IT infrastructure, there is a need for those in charge of IT strategy to begin considering the changes that these technologies will have on enterprise software. The enterprise software market has found itself at the forefront of a movement that seeks to bring enterprise technology more in line with what businesses need. One of the reasons it has found itself in this position, some experts argue, is because of the relative ease with which changes can be made in contrast to larger capital investments such as infrastructure and networks. The cost element in particular is an important focus point for CIOs. Recent months have seen a growth in the number of CIOs focusing on measuring cost and value, with the intention of eradicating IT’s perception as a cost centre and nothing else. Vendors have, in the past, been accused of exacerbating this problem, with their drive for higher profits. However, there is a gradual shift in their thinking as well.

“Software is a key component in any IT infrastructure and it is a critical aspect of any business,” states Zaher Haydar, regional pre-sales manager at EMC Middle East. “We clearly see the need to improve the flexibility of enterprise software to bringing it closer to the business and to reduce the cost of implementing software.” It’s a point echoed by Vivek Subramanyam, chief executive of business analytics vendor iCreate. “It is our belief that the enterprise software environment is in a transition phase from a focus on cost, to a focus on value creation for the enterprise.” Software-as-a-service is one of the concepts that have been heralded in the past by vendors as the way enterprises will save money on their software deployments in the future. However, while enterprises in the West have been much more receptive to the concept, its adoption in the Middle East has so far been limited. According to Paul Hammond, general manager of Infor Middle East, Arab culture and the desire to own assets has played a large role in the concept’s slow adoption. He also cited the region’s poor telecoms structure – both in terms of technology and regula-

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tions, as well as a lack of competiveness and cooperation – as key stumbling blocks standing in the way of enterprises in the region adopting software-as-a-service. “Because of this, hosted applications are mainly around infrastructure at this stage,” he says. However, software-as-a-service is only the tip of the iceberg as far as technological change is concerned. Virtualisation – which is seeing increased adoption in the Middle East, and especially in the GCC, after years of posturing by vendors – is putting pressure on those in charge of IT strategy to change how they think about enterprise software. The management of software in the virtualised cloud [see Death of the Disc on page 46] is also having ramifications on the way that vendors design and structure software; especially in areas like business intelligence. “In the long term, all enterprise software will be affected,” states Haydar. “The journey started with the low hanging fruit; software like business productivity. It is the easiest software to virtualise and to put on a cloud platform. This is why there is a lot of office productivity software available as softwareas-a-service.” However, while productivity may have been the first area in enterprise software to be adapted for the new realities of IT infrastructures, it is far from the only area. “We are seeing many lines of business solutions such as learning, recruiting, CRM and BI being delivered on the cloud,” explains Melvina Tarazi, head of industry at SAP MENA. “These applications’ customers are not as sensitive to where the data resides.” Subramanyam agrees, adding that: “The areas where CIOs would start experimenting with the new concepts are around the technology surrounding their non-core business processes and ones where the data security implications are to an extent lower.” However, he warns that despite an increasing push toward virtualised environments and cloud computing, issues around the security of the applications themselves, and most importantly, the data created by them would prevent some industries like banking and finance from adopting the technology, at least until confidence rose. What all of the industry experts agree on is that once businesses see how cloud computing and associated technologies can help them align IT with the business’ needs,


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INTELLIGENT SOLUTIONS Smarter, more interconnected software solutions are creating huge amounts of data. Utilising this data is becoming increasingly important for companies throughout the world, and the Middle East is no different. Luckily, recent surveys have shown that business intelligence is at the top of CIOs agendas in the region. According to the results of a recent survey of CIOs in SAP’s Middle East user group show that business intelligence is seen as the most important business process that needs to be implemented. “CIOs need to consider a strategy where they build a business intelligence platform that provides flexibility and ease of use in all different levels of the organisation, with true integration across multiple data sources and platforms,” comments Goksel Topbas, regional server and tools business group lead at Microsoft Gulf. Part of achieving this, claims Vivek Subramanyam, chief executive of iCreate, is ensuring that the business intelligence system that CIOs implement is the right one for their company. “As CIOs grapple with integrating business intelligence software within their enterprise software ecosystem, they will realise that the business intelligence tools and technologies that they have been investing in are not business-enabled,” he says. “For them to find truly powerful business intelligence for their organisation, they need industry specific solutions, with prebuilt insight generating capabilities for their respective industry’s context.” Although IT managers may feel overwhelmed with the changes they’re facing in regards to software asset management, it is possible to maintain control over assets. The answer is to embrace the changes as they happen. Understand the changes, adapt to them. What managers control and how they control them is changing, but the key is to be proactive, not reactive. Keep this up and you’ll keep on top.

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“The enterprise software market is in a transition phase from a focus on cost, to a focus on value creation for the enterprise.

there will be an increase in adoption. They also recognise that the key to achieving this will be the CIO. “CIOs play a critical and complementary role in effectively aligning IT to business needs,” explains Ahmed Auda, IBM Software Group leader, Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Levant. “Turning information into insights, enabling product and services innovation, driving business integration and optimisation, managing risk, security and compliance are amongst the core set of capabilities that CIOs need to modernise and migrate their business to an open and agile operation.” It is a point Goksel Topbas, regional server and tools business group lead at Microsoft Gulf agrees with. “Cloud is the most major development in terms of new opportunities, cost savings and efficiencies that can be gained by organisations, as well as enterprise software providers. CIOs need to consider how to utilise the cloud for their in-house applications, and also consider investing into enterprise software that can be utilised from the cloud.” CIOs also need to consider carefully how business intelligence will integrate into any upcoming enterprise software deployment ac-

cording to Mohammed Jawad Ali Khan, chief operating officer at Focus Softnet. “If we look back at the challenges enterprise software has faced in the last two decades, it’s possible to see that there has been continuous additions with varying degrees of business intelligence added in. While business intelligence has been separately implemented in the past, often with considerable effort, the changes to software recently has made it easier for CIOs deploying business intelligence.” According to Topbas, any three to five year plans currently being drafted by businesses must include a move to software-as-a-service enterprise software deployments, as well as how business intelligence will fit in with it. However, Red Hat’s general manager for MEA George DeBono warns that enterprises must avoid going down what appears to be the easy route, and settling for a single vendor solution. Vendor lock-in, he warns, is one of the biggest threats to enterprise IT today, due to a lack of widely accepted standards, and the risk that technology invested in today, might not be around in three to five years. Subramanyam agrees, but says that while it is difficult to predict the winners, it is IN NUMBERS


The revenue global software sales achieved during 2010 according to Gartner.


The percentage of CIOs that see business intelligence as a top priority.


The percentage of CIOs that consider virtualisation and cloud as top priorities. Source: SAP Middle East user group.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

possible to be sure that you are selecting the right solution by considering whether it meets the needs of current trends, rather than providing you with fancy buzzwords and features that might become redundant within a year’s time. “The CIO is faced with an increasing number of value driving solutions around software-as-a-service, mobility, product innovations, and so on,” he says. “All of them can help drive greater value and therefore align IT with business priorities better, but the question is, how can the CIO leverage the new benefits while managing risk?” Implemented properly, they claim, virtualisation cannot just help prevent lock-in, but make a company’s IT infrastructure more flexible to the business’ needs than ever before. “Organisations, for the first time, have the opportunity to get the needed resources without worrying about availability, scalability and reliability,” says Topbas. “An end-to-end service centric approach in cloud computing provides the necessary common processes, tools, and skills to deploy enterprise software and manage and monitor the full end-user experience while providing the best performance and availability.” However, analyst at Forrester Research Dave West warns that the technologies – while promising – are still in the early stages of adoption. “It will grow, but at the moment, organisations are more about looking into virtualisation for areas like development and simple server models.” Subramanyam echoes West, warning that “virtualisation and cloud computing will continue to be buzz words for the coming years. We are a few technological advances away from these becoming core components of CIO strategy, especially for core business applications.” However, that doesn’t mean that businesses can sit back and wait for those three years to pass. “The requirements of cloud applications are getting clearer,” says Ali Khan. “The benefits are also getting clearer. However, while the requirements are getting clearer, there is still a lot to be achieved in getting real business benefits from a cloud application.”




Arabian Computer News | July 2011


Death of the disk

Cloud computing and virtualisation are changing the way that software is managed, but what impact is that having on IT management, and what opportunities does it open up for new strategies? Keri Allan investigates.


he way an organisation’s IT infrastructure is designed and run is rapidly changing. A combination of virtualisation and cloud computing is having a major impact, not only on the way it is structured but also on the way it is used, provisioned and even budgeted. It is also having a major impact on the way software assets are managed. However, if managers choose to be proactive, rather than reactive, they can leverage tremendous value from this move. A virtualised IT architecture provides managers with the flexibility to move software assets, be they business applications or data and systems management functionality, from a variety of standalone computers, to a central location in a datacentre. These applications can be virtually accessed on whatever device the user is working on from any location at any time. In addition,

managers can also benefit from centralised maintenance and improved security, resulting in both money and time being saved. “The cloud environment can improve utilisation, whilst at the same time driving down internal costs,” notes Mohammed Khodr, senior cloud strategist at HP Middle East. “This improves flexibility in software, resulting in quicker time to market of products and services. This delivers significant competitive advantage.” Virtualisation and the move towards cloud does have a positive effect on software asset management; however it also adds new levels of complexity. Managers must decide on what kind of virtual solution they want and also navigate the complicated path of software licensing, which is still evolving under virtualisation. “For datacentres/private cloud operators, traditional software licensing just got an additional dimension of complexity, since it now depends as well on software

Arabian Computer News | July 2011



vendor specific virtualisation rules,” explains Gerhard Schlabschi, senior manager Global Campaigns, Oracle. “The desire for simplified licensing and transparent business models is already a major driver to simplify and harmonise IT infrastructures. Vendors with a broad software portfolio can offer simple and homogeneous licensing terms – also on virtualsed infrastructures – thus add real customers business value and will have a competitive advantage. “Software-as-a-service (SaaS) services in public clouds are mostly sofware vendor operated and provide clear, usage based licensing rules,” he continues. “Infrastructure-as-a service (IaaS) public cloud services offer a more diverse scenario. Some of them already offer commercial software on their platform and include software license management as an option. IaaS cloud users management of cloud deployed licenses is in its early infancies, with lots of grey areas and unresolved questions.” Microsoft’s advice on managing software assets in this environment is to keep management integrated and standardised. “The best way is definitely to select and standardise on the right management tools,” says Ramez Dandan, platform strategy manager, Microsoft Gulf. “The management platform you use should be integrated and end-to-end. In other words, it should be able to manage your physical, virtual, and most importantly (since that’s what users see) the applications you’re running in your environment, in an integrated manner. It should also help you manage your workloads across both private and public clouds wherever they are at a given time.” Indeed, companies tend to adopt a mixed environment to suit their business needs, making the most of both cloud and local software solutions, but of course every solution has its up and downsides. Clearly the benefits of a mixed environment include flexibility and a lower CAPEX due to the downsizing of local infrastructure, and the downside includes issues we’ve already highlighted such as additional complexity, security issues and software licensing. This is in addition to a higher OPEX. Even so, these hybrid environments look set to become the industry standard. “Hybrid solutions will be used for the foreseeable future,” says Sven Denecken,


MANAGING CONSUMERISATION The growth of consumer technology, combined with a new generation of techsavvy workers and an increasingly blurred distinction between work and personal life has led to an array of new consumer devices flooding into office environments. Employees have a growing expectation for company software to be accessible on whatever smartphone, tablet, laptop or netbook they use, adding another consideration to the management of software assets. “Consumerisation of IT adds another dimension to utilisation and tracking of software consumed by the end user,” says Nadeem Bhatti, senior industry strategist, HP Middle East. “Users typically either download applications to carry on with their day-to-day business needs or access software or services via an Instant-on always connected approach leveraging various web 2.0 or cloud applications. “An organisation or CIO is unlikely to slow the introduction of this ‘consumerisation’,” he continues. “One side benefit is that it enables improved employee productivity whilst on the move. However, you need to ensure risk and governance is carefully weighed up to secure companies data on what are typically non-trackable IT assets. Does the organisation need to bring into place an asset register for non-company owned, and used assets as part of governance and compliance, and what implications does this have?” he asks. Citrix’s solution to the issue of consumerisation of IT is to have developed Citrix Receiver, a universal software client that allows companies to deliver corporate apps, desktops and data to any device. “Enterprises now have the option of offering complete choice and flexibility to employees, to use their own devices at work, cutting IT hardware costs and enabling users to choose their preferred platform. At Citrix we refer to this as Bring Your Own (BYO),” says Aaron White, regional director, Middle East and Africa. “By delivering this level of choice and flexibility, customers can achieve increased business productivity and transform IT from managing internal systems to on-demand service delivery,” he continues. “Citrix Receiver supports more than 1,000 different devices and all major device operating platforms, including new environments like iOS, Android, webOS and Google’s ChromeOS. “In contrast to perceptions that this will increase IT management complexity, in fact such applications enable CIOs to virtually deploy software applications on any device and additionally reap the advantages of decreased hardware IT costs, and a more mobile and independent employee community with an ability to seamlessly interact with all their desktops, apps and data on any device, from any location 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Arabian Computer News | July 2011




The modern enterprise sometimes has hundreds of different pieces of software, each with their own licence to manage.


At a minimum, CIOs can now expect to have to manage ten different operating systems. vice president, Strategy and Co-Innovation OnDemand, SAP. “We enable our customers to take advantage of the premise of On Demand, while capitalising on their investments On Premise. The questions is NOT ‘either/or’, it’s how to manage both.” Microsoft’s outlook on hybrid environments is a very positive one, with Dandan again focusing on integration as the success factor. “Done right there should be no downsides to deploying a hybrid model,” he says. “On the contrary, the hybrid approach – which we at Microsoft refer to as ‘Cloud on your own terms’ – gives you a greater deal of agility by treating the two models as complementary. Plus we offer a host of solutions to help customers achieve hybrid clouds in an integrated fashion. “This applies to back office systems, as well as desktop applications. Of course you can use both Microsoft environments to run a wide variety of third party proprietary, and open source applications like PHP and Java, as well as multiple virtualised operating systems like SUSE Linux and CentOS to achieve the level of interoperability customers need.” But it’s not just virtualisation and the cloud that is affecting the management of software assets. The move to aligning IT

with individual business units and some taking the approach of allowing units to manage their own IT is also having an impact. Without a proper management tool, managers may see a fragmentation of responsibility for software license management to an organisation’s IT staff, legal, purchasing and financial departments, as well as end users. Physical documentation of purchases and entitlements may be distributed in offices around the world, and undocumented user downloads compound the risk. “One-at-a-time management of procurement requests creates bottlenecks for any large IT organisation and encourages noncompliant downloads and untracked personal or ‘maverick’ purchases,” notes Joseph Carson, group product manager, Symantec. “The solution to this is to centralise the monitoring and management of software usage by putting it side-by-side with software license costs,” he continues. “For example, if a business unit in a company pays 50 per cent of the license fees for an application, but usage figures show the fee is not justified, those licenses can be redeployed to a different department that would make better use of them, or they would be ‘harvested’ and a lower license fee be paid.” VMware’s response is to create a shared services environment that works with the diversity of a business, not against it. For example, you can take a VMware cloud and carve it up into multiple virtual datacentres. “Each business unit could be mapped to a virtual datacentre,” says Deepak Narain, manager, Systems Engineers MENA, VMware. “Each virtual datacentre will be provisioned from a centralised catalogue of services. This means that while each business unit has the ability to customise the offerings within the catalogue, they’re drawing from a standardised pool of resources at the end of the day. “Of course, this means that software asset management software needs to be modified to be able to properly leverage this new paradigm. But, the bottom line is that the hooks are all there to make sure that CIOs

“Done right, there should be no downsides to deploying a hybrid model. On the contrary, the hybrid approach gives you a greater deal of agility.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

can maintain or enhance the current level of compliance and control they have, not reduce it.”

PROVIDING THE BEDROCK While both cloud and virtualisation are the driving forces behind the change in the way that CIOs manage their software assets, they also have an impact on the underlying infrastructure of an enterprise. With other trends, such as mobility, and the natural tendancy for businesses in the Gulf to be spread over large geographical areas, it’s no surprise that vendors such as Riverbed are stressing that CIOs shouldn’t fail to consider the impact of any new strategy on IT hardware. “It’s not enough to simply position network nodes at each branch anymore,” comments Mark Lewis, senior director of marketing and alliances EMEA at Riverbed Technology. “Hardware has to be designed to handle the new realities of the way CIOs will manage their networks in the wake of cloud computing and virtualisation. “WAN optimisation is one such technology that will become increasingly important, especially in regions such as the Middle East where bandwidth is at a premium. The ability to optimise downloads through the smart use of virtualisation will have an enourmous impact on company’s IT infrastructure and its cost to the business.”



Developing Market Software development has traditionally been focused in markets like Western Europe, the US and Japan, but as technologies like virtualisation and cloud computing cut down on the need for large development teams, is the Middle East ready to take on the world? By Ben Furfie


espite a huge swathe of people speaking Arabic from Western Africa all the way to the Levant, local software development has always struggled to take off in the region. Factors as diverse as piracy through to English’s position as a lingua-franca in the region have often conspired to put pay to local software development outside of Arabicisation of software developed elsewhere. However, with the rise of new technologies that promise to streamline a number of the processes that have up until now required large teams of highly skilled individuals, large scale development of software in the region is once again looking like a real possibility. “Software development picked up as a promising industry in the region around the late 1990s,” says Ahmed Adel, sales and operations director at Microsoft Middle East and Africa’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team. “But there was a slow down – and perhaps even a stagnation – that occurred five to seven years ago.” According Adel, the main reason for the failure of the software sector to manifest itself in the region was that the larger development houses failed to continue expanding. This had a knock on effect on university ad-


missions, resulting in the region’s computer science departments being shut down. Despite that initial set back, there are signs that the region once again investing in software development as a fundamental facet of the IT industry. However, the biggest challenge currently facing the industry is moving away from Arabisation of software, toward the creation of more original content. “We’re still at the early stages of software development in the Middle East,” argues Deepak Narain, systems engineer manager at VMware MENA. “There is still a mismatch between the amount of talent coming out of universities, and the amount of development I see in the local market. A lot of what I see [in the Middle East] is just customisation of applications that were not designed with the regional market, and its users, in mind.” It is a point echoed by the managing director of Sage Software Middle East and India, Vikram Suri. “The Middle East is quickly emerging as a strategic venue for software development; but so far, it has been limited to the Arabisation of software that is already available in other languages, mainly English.” The Arabisation of software is also having a profound impact on the development of the IT industry in areas of the Middle East not traditionally associated with high technology.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011


Arabian Computer News | July 2011



While most of the investment in IT over the past decade has been in infrastructure – and much of that focused in the cash-rich GCC markets – current trends in the software sector suggest that the leading forces are away from the Arabian Peninsula. “Egypt and Jordan are now seen as the main centres for software development in the Middle East,” states Suri. Manish Bhardwaj, marketing manager at Autodesk Middle East echoes Suri’s suggestion that Egypt and Jordan are emerging as the key software development markets, but adds that Syria and Iran are both rapidly developing their software industries and are catching up. There are issues though. Suri warns that despite there being 300 million Arabic speakers around the globe, with the majority in the region, English’s position as the modern business world’s lingua franca means that there are instances where Arabisation simply isn’t necessary. Because of this, he said that companies need to seriously consider the need for an Arabised version. “There have been instances where companies go through lengths to develop an Arabic version of their software, only to find that the English edition remains much more popular.” However, with the rise of new technologies, it is becoming more feasible for small development teams to develop their own software from scratch without the need for the large personnel counts that used to be part and parcel of software development. The team doesn’t even need to be in the same office, or even country, argues Adel. “The evolution of software development tools and environments has greatly increased the productivity of individuals in a company, and offers alternatives to work structures based on proven methodologies. “The rise of application lifecycle management tools allow teams that are geographically dispersed, with multiple roles, to collaborate on projects around the clock, while optimising their efforts and results towards a very high bar,” he adds. Despite that, there is resistance to the adoption of such tools from within the development community itself. “Most staff coming from these software development

MOBILE DEVELOPMENT The rise of devices platforms like

iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 have created new opportunities for developers in regions not traditionally considered as development hubs, such as the Middle East. However, according to Ahmed Adel, sales and operations director at Microsoft Middle East and Africa’s Developer and Platform Evangelism team, it isn’t just the new platforms themselves, but the marketplace model that has changed the dynamic of the development scene. “The rise of marketplaces for handheld devices has essentially given back power to the developer,” he says. “The form factor and usage scenarios of the devices enforce constraints on the size of applications, yet calls for true creativity that is only measured by the market response.” It is a point that Deepak Narain, manager, system engineers at VMware agrees with. “It isn’t just the device itself when you’re talking about the opportunities presented by mobile OSs and their marketplaces. It’s the entire infrastructure behind it. There’s a lot of opportunity for locally created apps, and not just mall directories and radio apps, but for apps of local relevance. These devices have created a multi-billion dollar marketplace, but the local industry needs to rise up to the challenge of creating their own niche in this industry,” he adds.

companies are still sceptical about the growth of any technology in this area, since the development of any such product brings with it automation, and the threat of a reduction in staff,” reveals Suri. Not all technologies though are necessarily about helping the development process directly, as Narain explains. “Virtualisation can help enormously. I remember when I first came across VMware as a developer. Overnight I was able to replace a lab full of machines with a single powerful desktop. “At their very core, virtualisation and cloud are about reducing barriers to entry and time to market,” he adds. “Starting from using virtualisation to manage several complex development environments easily, through to deploying entire companies in the cloud, the cost of building and releasing an application has come down drastically.” According to Narain, it isn’t simply a case of it allowing companies to reduce costs by running multiple environments on a single desktop. Instead he says that there is room for a much granter vision. “You can use virtualisation to create on-demand, collaborative sandboxes for developers – on a developer cloud. You could even build one internally.

Egypt and Jordan are now seen as the main centres for enterprise software development in the Middle East region.” 52

Arabian Computer News | July 2011



The number of Arabic speakers around the globe, the majority based in the region.


The revenue global software sales achieved in 2010, according to Gartner. “Virtualisation allows you to break that link – IT manages the infrastructure, leaving the developer free to manage their platforms,” he adds. “Developers can set up environments on demand, tear them down, share them, and archive them... all from a centralised library.” Cloud on the other hand isn’t so much about enabling new work process, but opening up new markets. “Cloud computing opens new doors and creates new opportunities, but it requires developers to update their skills,” warns Adel. “The key to success in the cloud will be how fast developers can adapt to the new possibilities to capture the biggest part of the opportunity.”

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Recruitment Your monthly round-up of the latest executive appointments, announcements and regional vacancies from the across the industry.

HP hires Sun’s Christopher Saul He is tasked with expanding the company’s market share in the client virtualisation sector


P Middle East has appointed CHRISTOPHER SAUL as the new business development manager, Client Virtualisation. Saul will be tasked with expanding Client Virtualisation capabilities and driving sales and sales strategies across the Middle East region, working with tier one HP partners such as Microsoft, Citrix and VMware to provide thin client, VDI and server based computing solutions to customers. Saul will also be focusing on delivering a total solution to customers in order to retain and increase HP’s thin client market share. “I’m really excited to have joined the HP Middle East team. There’s not a single organisation out there that won’t benefit immediately from HP’s Client Virtualisation solutions,” said Saul. “The key issue for customers is working with a vendor that can

handle an entire solution, from keyboard to client, from server to software. HP is uniquely positioned in the market as the only vendor able to bring a complete solution together.” Saul has more than 12 years experience in promoting, designing and selling thin client, server based computing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions. Saul joins HP from Sun Microsystems. “We are pleased to welcome Christopher Saul as Business Development Manager for Client Virtualisation,” said Salim Ziade, HP PSG General Manager ME, “We see this market as a key focus area for HP and Christopher’s leadership and expertise will be an essential part of HP’s growth in the region.” Value added distributor FVC has appointed YAKOB KAFINA as the new general manager for its operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

SAUL: The key issue for Middle Eastern enterprises is finding the right vendor partner.

50 EMIRATI’S HEAD TO SPECIALIST TRAINING Fifty Emirati men and women will head to

education with others. We hope this pro-

Singapore in September to take part in the

gramme will strengthen our ties and pres-

first class of the Semiconductor Retooling

ence in the Middle East,” said Tan Hang

Programme, developed by ATIC, Global-

Cheong, principal, Singapore Polytechnic.

foundries and Singapore Polytechnic. “We are delighted to work with Advanced

Upon completion of the training programme, participants will be em-

Technology Investment Company in building

ployed as Wafer Fabrication Technolo-

a ready pool of technically skilled workers

gists at Globalfoundries in Abu Dhabi.

for the chip making industry in Abu Dhabi.

The training agreement between ATIC,

As the first polytechnic in Singapore, SP is

Globalfoundries and Singapore Polytech-

privileged to have this opportunity to share

nic was formalised this week at a signing

our experience and expertise in technical

ceremony in Abu Dhabi.

Arabian Computer News | July 2011



Osama Ghoul

After Hours Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s CIOs and IT leaders tick. This month, Osama Ghoul, managing partner at global IT consultancy Devoteam’s Middle East division. How did you end up where you are now?

What is your greatest achievement?

Over the years I was always involved in new challenges and taking the lead on pushing creative concepts in an entrepreneurial manner. After university I joined Ericsson to work for their business division, after five years I moved to Jordan to build the first ISP in 1994-1995, from there I moved to USA to join Bell Atlantic and to be part of the management team in charge of building the longest man made structure and the first privately owned fibre optic cable connecting Europe, Middle East, and the Far East, which after that became part of FLAG Telecom the leading company in building and operating submarine fibre optic networks globally. In 2004, I partnered with Devoteam to develop and build Devoteam operation in the Middle East, the first ICT specialised consulting company in the region, and today after seven years we have are the largest ICT consulting company with offices in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Amman and providing services to more than 50 major clients with more than 150 consultants in the region.

I do appreciate that measuring achievements is done in different ways, having said that for me a great achievement is through the development of a sustainable platform that will be able to help and add value to the community that we live in, everything after that becomes a big product in a sense. In Devoteam, that is what we focus at and hence we are working towards achieving that great objective and hope to be able to reach there soon.

What was your first computer and when did you first use it?

My first computer was the Commodore 64. I used it for playing games and doing simple basic programming.


What is your fondest memory of working in the industry?

I think the fondest memory of working in the industry was when we inaugurated the longest man made submarine fibre optic cable

GETTING PERSONAL Nationality: Jordanian Number of years in the industry: 22 years Favourite Food: All kinds of sea food Holiday destination: The Maldives Music: Modern classical music Movie: The Godfather Advice: Practice what you preach

system, during that time and after several years of hard work I could see what was once a fantasy and far fetched dream became a reality at that day we needed to get everything working exactly at the same moment to enable us to offer telecom services to more than three billion people in the world. Which technology will have the biggest impact on the market next year?

We do hear a lot today about several trends that are storming the industry such as cloud computing, and others. Cloud is surely a hot trend, however, moving towards cloud implementation will always stand to be a challenge for organisations and hence in my opinion mobility and mobility related technologies will be the main drivers for any technology investment in the short and mid-term for any business, What is the best way to deal with stress?

Over the years it is clear that stress is increasing and not decreasing…new technology is paving the way for better communication and collaboration and as much as this is a blessing this is also a major element to increase the stress level that we face. Would you like to take part in ACN’s ‘After Hours’ section? If so, please contact:

Arabian Computer News | July 2011

Lenovo® recommends Windows® 7 Professional.








WWW.LENOVO.COM/MP Footnotes: 1. Starting weight 2. With an external battery attery slice (optional) 3. Compares averaged data from Lenovo EE 2.0 PPCs with averaged data from 42 competitor products of similar configuration. Testing conducted by CNET Labs, Beijing in November 2010, using the independent Microsoft VTS indows® 7 performance measurements. Data from competitor an tool to measure start-up, shutdown, resume and other Windows® and Lenovo PCs were averaged and compared to calculate the claims used. Performance will vary by model and configuration. Trademarks: The following are registered trademarks of Lenovo: Lenovo, the Lenovo logo and ThinkPad. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corpo Corporation. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others. ©2011 Lenovo. All rights reserved.



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Arabian Computer News (ACN) - July 2011 - Volume 24 - Issue 7 "60 Pages" ITP Technology Publishing, Dubai, UAE