DMC Duke McCaffrey Logo
Close this search box.


What is the GDCA, and why is it important?

Get in touch


22 August 2023

3 min read

Duke McCaffrey sat down with GDCA Founder, Henry Sutton, for a fireside chat to discover more about the GDCA and the contribution it’s making to the industry.

What is the mission of the GDCA and what value does it bring to the data centre market in the Middle East?

The Gulf Data Centre Association (GDCA) is a trade organisation designed to propel the growth of the data centre industry across the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Middle East.

The GDCA provides a platform for those involved in every aspect of the data centre industry – including operating, servicing, and investing – across Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to promote growth within the industry and to develop Middle Eastern digital infrastructure.

We host a regular cadence of events across every GCC market where people can network with peers and hear from expert speakers, and we also offer a series of market intelligence reports for every GCC data centre market, free of charge. In this way, the GDCA enables members from both the public and private sectors to share knowledge, best practice, and market expertise beyond borders.

What was the gap in the market for a body such as yours? What was the inspiration for creating the group?

When the GDCA was created in September 2022, it was against the backdrop of the GCC data centre market experiencing a curbed market growth. The region has been underserved for a long time, particularly when it comes to having the right capacity for the number of people, but now as it opens up politically, economically, and infrastructure wise, there’s a huge amount of potential.

Indeed, it’s a hugely tech hungry region, with domestic demand for the likes of social media, cloud and other data-first applications skyrocketing. In addition, the region is looking to take the lead on technological innovations such as smart cities, AI, crypto and blockchain, so there’s a huge amount of growth and demand for data centre requirements.

Against this setting, we wanted to offer more market transparency and demystify the data centre industry to support the region in attracting the bigger investors and data centre eco-system it very much needs.

What is unique about the GDCA in comparison to other industry groups?

Our main differentiator at the GDCA is that we truly are GCC wide. Our market intelligence reports for example, cover every single Gulf market, and they’re all available to download for free from our website. We’ve also to date hosted at least one of our events in each market, and we have worked hard to ensure we engage the entire region, not just one country.

What is your approach to supporting the data centre industry? What are the values that you will promote?

Inclusivity, transparency, collaboration, debate and challenge are our key values. We want to provide the opportunity for industry peers and experts from across the entire region to come together to collaborate on solving the region’s challenges. Our goal is to help improve the standards of the region and ensure the GCC becomes the next major global data hub it has the potential to be.

What value does an organisation such as Duke McCaffrey bring to the body?

We’re hugely excited to have the support of Duke McCaffrey. Having such established organisations onboard the GDCA is invaluable at bringing global insights and expertise to the table, especially as the region looks to compete on the world stage.

Duke McCaffrey’s support will also enable us to expand our reach to more and more industry members across the Gulf and beyond, as well as explore new avenues of innovations and services that we can provide to our members.

What has been the impact so far?

The GDCA was founded in September 2022, and we have already welcomed nearly 1,000 members! This includes everyone from operators to end users to law firms, and everything in between. It’s fantastic to see so many peers coming together from across the region to share best practice and knowledge, and work to build up the data centre community. We’ve hosted events in every single GCC market since launching, totalling 12 so far – and there are many more to come, with three in September alone!

We are also thrilled to have recently announced the launch of Touchdown Middle East, in partnership with Kickstart Europe. Touchdown is the GCC’s first region-wide data centre industry conference and will take place the 21st-22nd November 2023 in Bahrain. It’s full steam ahead at the GDCA as we prepare for Touchdown, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to this one-of-a-kind event.