Taking yet another major technological stride that will further revolutionise the future of telecommunications in Oman and the Middle East region, Omantel has announced the opening of MC1, an international data center built in collaboration with Equinix – the world’s digital infrastructure company. The facility is the first world-class, carrier-neutral hub in Oman where carriers, content providers and cloud providers can colocate their critical IT infrastructure.
This state-of-the-art hub, an International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center, that has been opened in Barka is strategically located between Asia, Africa and Europe. MC1 will serve as a regional interconnection hub providing ultra-low latency connection points between key global business markets. The new facility benefits from direct connectivity to strategic cable landing stations (CLS) and subsea cable systems that terminate directly inside the facility, providing customers with increased performance and security, along with significant cost savings.
Talal Al Mamari, CEO of Omantel, said, “Today, data center infrastructure sits at the heart of global ICT and enables all of us to enjoy the cloud-based apps and services we use every day. MC1 represents a significant step forward for Oman and the Middle Eastern ICT markets. We are delighted that the facility is now operational, and together with Equinix, we hope to enable a new era of telecommunications both regionally and globally. Coupled with the majority of the GCC’s international submarine cables landing in Oman, all accessible from the Equinix data center, we believe this partnership will further enhance Oman’s competitiveness in the global digital economy.”
MC1 will provide customers with direct access to the Equinix Internet Exchange™, creating a regional peering hub for networks, content providers and large enterprises to exchange internet traffic over the world’s largest peering solution. MC1 is Equinix’s first data center in Oman and its fourth in the MENA region.
Omantel entered into a joint venture with Equinix in 2018 to deliver data center and interconnection services to customers in the Middle East through the development of the new network-dense data center. The resulting site, MC1, is operated by Equinix and includes 23,600+ square feet of colocation space and 725 cabinets. The site also has the capacity to grow to 2,150+ cabinets with future IBX builds.
With subsea cable systems terminating directly in MC1, the site benefits from continued investments by Omantel in multiple strategic subsea cable systems throughout the world, reaching over 50 countries globally. Omantel currently has investments in more than 20 subsea cable systems and leverages six diverse landing stations in Oman and one in Marseille, France.
Eugene Bergen Henegouwen, President, EMEA, Equinix, said, “We are seeing an accelerated demand for digital transformation in MENA. Across different sectors, organizations are re-assessing their cloud adoption strategies and cloud readiness. In the digital age, companies need to reach all the right places and partners to seize opportunity, and they need to do it out at the edge. Our partnership with Omantel greatly supports our ability to meet this need, particularly as our customers can now leverage Omantel’s significant subsea cable infrastructure. This type of colocation and interconnection services platform creates a magnetic effect that draws in more users that can leverage a global subsea cable fabric connecting cities, countries and continents together. Along with this, our investment in the Middle East market—including the new data center in Oman—reflects our commitment to our customers as they continue their digital transformation journeys.”
According to the latest edition of the Global Interconnection Index (GXI), enterprise consumption of interconnection bandwidth is predicted to grow at a 67 per cent CAGR by 2022 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), outpacing other forms of business data exchange, as businesses respond to rapidly growing volumes of data.
Sohail Qadir, Vice President of Omantel Wholesale Unit said “Omantel provides cable landings and connectivity to more than 120 cities across the world. We also have investments in 20 subsea cable systems and leverage six diverse landing stations in Oman and another in France. Additionally, Omantel is an investor in AAE-1 consortium, one of the largest, newest high-capacity connections between Asia, Africa and Europe. And through this partnership with Equinix, we believe we are well-positioned now to provide the current and future needs of carriers, content providers, and cloud providers”.
Based on demand and requirements, customers across Gulf states and the wider MENA region can also leverage other Equinix data centers in the region for dual access to content providers, allowing carriers, content providers and cloud providers to leverage interconnection and further build resilience into their IT and network infrastructures.
Kamel Al-Tawil, Managing Director for Middle East and North Africa, Equinix, stated: “As IP traffic growth continues to accelerate, it is more important than ever that the IP peering community has a scalable, reliable and globally consistent Internet Exchange solution in all markets where they want to peer traffic. Oman is strategically positioned between Asia, Africa and Europe, and with our partnership with Omantel, we intend to create a hub that will allow drivers of internet traffic to efficiently peer, and expand operations across the world”.
According to Equinix’s 2019-20 Global Tech Trends Survey, over 40 per cent of IT decision-makers in EMEA are prioritising connecting with new digital ecosystems as part of their organization’s overarching technology strategy.