[German]The international sanctions against Russia are forced a withdrawal of US cloud providers, who are cancelling services for Russian customers. Now an IT crisis is looming in Russia, because the country is running out of storage for data. In an estimated two months, it will run out of cloud storage capacity – the Russian government is currently looking for alternatives.
At the moment, everything is going haywire in Russia in terms of IT. Internationally positioned IT specialists and knowledge workers are losing their jobs abroad. Cooperations for software development with western countries are put on ice. Foreign companies are withdrawing from Russia due to the internationally imposed sanctions. Russia is also cutting itself off more and more from the international Internet (see the analysis (German) linked in this (German) comment).
Colleagues at Bleeping Computer picked it up in this article. With Western cloud providers pulling out of the country and sanctions taking hold, the country is facing an IT crisis. According to Russian news magazine Kommersant, officials believe they have about two months before available storage and server capacity is exhausted.
Storage crisis for IT looms
According to Kommersant sources, a meeting was held March 9 at the Ministry of Information, attended by companies (Sber, MTS, Oxygen, Rostelecom, Atom-Data (a Rosatom subsidiary), Krok, and Yandex) with large computing capacity. The parties discussed the possibility of running out of capacity in data storage systems (DSS) and servers, and the lack of capacity needed to support the government's digital assets.
The government is preparing for a shortage of computer storage capacity, which could lead to problems in the operation of government information systems as early as in the coming months. According to Kommersant, if necessary, the authorities are ready to buy capacity from commercial data centers and take over the IT resources of companies that have announced their withdrawal from the Russian Federation.
Data center operators stress that they need help themselves: Prices for storage systems and servers have increased many times over, banks are not lending, and the logistics chain has been disrupted. If the government decides to cut the private sector, experts say entertainment services will be the first to suffer.
The Ministry of Digital Affairs says it is "analyzing" the situation for now. According to a Kommersant interlocutor familiar with the situation, the government is currently conducting an inventory of computer equipment in data centers to ensure uninterrupted operation of critical systems for government agencies.
In 2 months they run out of storage capacity
"The situation is extremely serious, no one expected it, but the actual capacity of the state sector is enough for a month and a half of data center operations at most," confirms a Kommersant interlocutor familiar with the details of the meeting. He says that all federal and regional agencies have been unable to buy equipment. According to the Kommersant source, the meeting also discussed the idea of taking over the server capacities of companies that have announced their withdrawal from the Russian market.
A Kommersant source from the IT market explained that due to the departure of foreign cloud services, which were used by some agencies, among others, the demand for server capacity "immediately increased." The situation is complicated by the fact that prices for Chinese equipment have increased many times over, logistics have been disrupted, and buyers of foreign equipment already imported into Russia are in some cases unable to pick it up from warehouses. "Two truckloads of servers from a foreign supplier have entered the country, but they refuse to hand them over to us, citing sanctions," a source from a major IT company told Kommersant. Another Kommersant interlocutor claims that Huawei in particular has suspended sales of its devices in Russia until March 26. The company did not respond to Kommersant when asked.
Confiscation of foreign IT?
The Ministry of Information told Kommersant newspaper that it had discussed with state authorities and IT companies "mechanisms they had not thought of before." The ministry added that they have not seen any critical risks of capacity shortages so far and would introduce "additional mechanisms to improve efficiency."
Asked by Kommersant whether the authorities planned to take over the computing capacity of companies that leave the country, the ministry said that the current task was to analyze how much capacity could potentially be freed up if some companies left the country permanently: "Then we can talk about the proper reuse of resources." Croc, Sber, Rostelecom, Yandex, Atom-Data and MTS declined to comment. Selectel and Oxygen did not respond to Kommersant's inquiries.
Western sanctions have already forced Russian authorities to restrict exports of a wide range of electronics and computer equipment from Russia. This measure is intended to prevent foreign IT companies and equipment manufacturers that have announced their withdrawal from Russia from exporting their equipment, on the one hand, and to stop the relocation of Russian IT companies, on the other.
According to Stanislav Mirin, consultant at iKS-Consulting, the demand for computing equipment (servers and data storage) in the public sector is increasing by more than 20% per year on average: "The fact is that public services need a lot of resources for storage. Every new function of public services requires additional capacity. 'Smart' or 'safe city' programs are also demand drivers." As a prime example, the expert cites urban surveillance cameras, which have huge resource requirements for storing and processing data.
According to Igor Dorofeev, head of the Association of data center industry participants, if government agencies rush to buy capacity from data center operators already serving commercial businesses, they won't initially impact service users: "If the situation with the lack of capacity doesn't change, we will have to get our act together. Most likely, this will lead to limited operation of entertainment services: Cloud gaming, music and video streaming.
But the Association of Data Center Industry Participants notes that the industry itself is in dire need of government support. First of all, Dorofeev says, it needs to be determined whether data center market participants will be able to receive the benefits announced by the government. The second problem is access to money, he says: "Prices for equipment have skyrocketed, suppliers require 100 percent prepayment, and banks are reluctant to lend. Loans on concessionary terms are now desperately needed. All in all, the outlook for IT and its employees in Russia is not rosy. At the moment, their government is probably dragging economically everything down.
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