In 2021 IXcellerate is one of the leading commercial data centers in Moscow and a home for hypercloud in Russia, but it has not always been like this. In fact, when starting out as a data center startup in 2011, IXcellerate was serving a market, which was all but non-existent in comparison to such established connectivity hubs like Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris.
There were many reasons why Moscow remained an underinvested market despite Russia’s evident global importance and Internet presence. Foremost among these was a perception among western players that the country is a country with alien customs, philosophy and unreliable business practices. “People are frightened of Russia”, – says IXcellerate CEO Guy Willner. “People are happy enough to invest in Singapore and the Middle East where democracy is not much in evidence. They may say: “Russians look like us so why don’t they behave like us? They don’t realize this is a country twice the size of the USA or China, with huge diversity, dozens of nationalities, ethnicities and cultures.”
Like many emerging economies, Russia has been wary of outsourcing with a strong inclination to keep its data in-house. Willner’s team at IXcellerate has been explaining why outsourcing makes sense, that it doesn’t mean relinquishing control of a customer’s IT systems, but retaining it, and keeping it stored more securely than they ever could if they’d kept it close.
But Russia is not merely catching up, but leapfrogging in many ways, with interesting e-banking innovations, very fast technological development and even self-driving taxis being trialed on the streets. All this is inexorably driving a new data center revolution.