KAUST Opens First of Its Kind Data Center With Global Data Hub

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) announced the opening of a new commercial Tier III Data Center in partnership with Global Data Hub (GDH), a Dubai-based data center space provider. The opening ceremony took place on March 9, 2023 at the KAUST Research and Technology Park. The state-of-the-art facility will solve regional data center needs in the Kingdom and provide cloud services. It also symbolizes the continued growth of KAUST as a destination for scientific and technological research as they continue to attract other forward-thinking corporate partners.

High availability of IT is often required for businesses to keep running, however, on-prem IT teams are not always a viable option. The current solution is co-location or the cloud which has resulted in increasing demand for data centers. The Middle East data center market is growing, driven by a need for robust IT environments along with secure cloud services as necessitated by government entities issuing regulations requiring local data to stay within a country – and within that country’s cloud.

“We are excited about the opening of this new Tier Three Data Center, which has the potential to transform digital innovation and support advanced research at KAUST,” said Jason Roos, CIO of KAUST. “With the state-of-the-art facility provided by GDH, we will have the capacity and flexibility to process, store, and analyze vast amounts of data generated by our world-class research programs. This will enable us to accelerate our research initiatives, enhance collaboration across disciplines, and drive innovation in diverse fields ranging from energy and environmental science to artificial intelligence and computational biology.”
– Jason Roos

GDH is best known for the development of the Dubai Silicon Oasis data center, a world-class facility completed in 2014. At KAUST, GDH will be implementing a similar model to provide a flexible co-location purpose-built data center that serves the diverse needs of KAUST, its research park tenants, and other interested external customers such as global corporations.

The 27,600m2 structure will house 8,000 m2 of white space, with a minimum capacity for its future customers of 14.4 MW IT load. KAUST will be the first university in the region to have a commercial tier III data center on premise.

“The trend among IT thought leaders is to lease data center space from experts rather than build in-house data centers,” said Tarek Al-Ashram, CEO of GDH. “As a vendor-neutral facility, the KAUST data center will solve a range of data storage needs while maintaining the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of future research parks and external partners.”

The GDH/KAUST partnership is significant both because it will solve KAUST data center needs as well as attract other multinational corporations who are looking to store and keep their most critical and valuable data and equipment safe.

The data center will also help to foster international collaborations, contributing to the cultivation of knowledge in an innovation-driven economy. The project with GDH supports KAUST’s ongoing mission of tackling pressing issues such as sustainability for energy, the environment, and more – key elements of the Kingdom’s Vision for 2030.