At the end of last year, the Russian government had taken a number of measures aimed to support development of Russian technologies abroad. In particular, a project “Strategy for the development of the information society for 2017-2030” has been created, which is intended to support the export of Russian information technologies; moreover, subsidies have been provided for Russian innovators for registration of intellectual property rights in foreign markets, including those required to boost export capabilities of the Russian hi-tech goods and technologies. As far as IT services which provided by Russian companies, the situation is much more complicated.
Two directions of IT services
The very term “IT services” is ambivalent. Thus, on the one hand, IT services are understood as the creation of software products by the Russian developers, for example, antivirus software, business applications (online banking, marketplaces), messengers, social networks, trackers, picture editors, etc.
On the other hand, it is understood as multiple engineering solutions developed on the basis of foreign or the Russian technologies, and more specifically, cloud technologies. If we are talking about cloud IT services for business, any customer, either Russian or foreign, is looking for convenience, flexibility, and high reliability of such services. However it is practically of no importance what equipment is used as a base for such a cloud. At present the vast majority of “cloud” Russian IT companies are working on foreign equipment and software, so in this case exported actual service, including creation and maintenance of high-reliability IT architecture.
Export model of the Russian cloud
“Russian clouds” are highly competitive with Western ones, for they are based on the same technologies as those of international market players, and at the same time the costs of services may be a bit lower.
However, for the time being, key customers of the Russian cloud services abroad are geographically distributed Russian companies with a global network. They aim to get a professional service of infrastructure with first-line support from Russia, in the Russian language, and with a customarily high level of expertise. The export model in this case is taking a service provider’s cloud infrastructure abroad and developing the same solution as used by a particular customer in Russia.
Competition with global players
In our experience, the Russian providers are more customer-focused compared to foreign competitors; they are more flexible and customized.
In the meantime, hybrid options are in demand with the Russian customers, where public clouds of global players are used along with clouds at a corporate level.
Prospects of IT services
Today, we are seeing transformation of IT, from in-house physical IT infrastructure to the use of cloud services to meet the needs of business at the greatest extent possible. At that the same time, the cost of services is decreasing, whereas the efficiency and safety of the cloud model for business is growing.
If we speak about long-term prospects, in my opinion, IT services will develop in two directions: first of all, computation speed will increase while processing the maximum amount of data, simultaneously with the enhancement of safety levels, and second, we shall see the development of computer-aided learning systems, such as neural networks, machine intelligence, etc. Even as we speak, the concept of fog computing is being developed, where the principles of clouds are transferred from data centers to geographically distributed interacting devices.
Alexey Danilyants is CEO of Moscow-based data center operator Stack Group.