Q&A with Dmitry Fokin, managing director of IXcellerate

11 April 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

Dmitry Fokin talks to Capacity about the Russian data centre market and the main drivers of growth in this industry

Tell us about IXcellerate – what do you do? How old is the company?

IXcellerate is a Moscow’s leading Level3/Tier3 commercial datacenter with a guaranteed SLA 99,999% and no downtime since its opening in 2013.

Being pure-play co-location provider IXcellerate meets the standards of financial institutions, multinational corporations, international carriers and major content operators. Among customers who trust us are Agricultural Bank of China, Orange Business Services, NTT Communications, Nestle, DATAPIPE, Thomson Reuters, Telia, Sprint, China Unicom and other firms that process big data.

The company’s CEO is Guy Willner, British entrepreneur and widely recognized industry expert in Data centers, Clouds and Big data (regularly listed among TOP-50 EMEA Influencers).  

Since Goldman Sachs arrival as strategic investor in 2017, IXcellerate kicked-off the “Phase 3” project to build the largest data hall in Russia to expand the current facility with 735 already installed and operated racks.

How developed is the data centre market in Russia? Is it growing?

The data centre market in Russia is growing fast (over 10% YoY) with top-10 players owning 70% of the market. These are campuses of great variety, locations, capacity and SLAs. 2017 market size is forecasted to be 38 000 racks with value of 300M USD by iKS-consulting. 

I strongly believe that there is a great potential to grow and mature even further. In 2017 we have doubled IXcellerate installation in size, grew revenues by more that 100% and reached financial breakeven. 

We see demand from East and West coming to Russia and looking for the exceptional uptime parameters and colocation service, which can be easily addressed by IXcellerae and some other premium providers. At the same time less demanding clients can find a simpler and less cost solution too.

What are the main drivers of growth in Russia?

It’s important to remember that Russia is a huge market – the 6th global GDP by the purchasing power parity and the country with the largest number of internet users in Europe, which also makes it #7 globally.  

Moscow is a huge technological and telecommunications hub, located on the digital “silk road”, connecting East and West.

Data centre infrastructure barely serves the current need, but the demand is growing and evolving. Customers inevitably develop the taste for the highest service levels - they are realizing, how damaging is the downtime for their business. Providing availability with 99,982% SLA or higher is not a common practice yet. We see the market is not mature yet, so it has high potential to expand further.

IXcellerate Moscow One 680 width

CEO Guy Willner has a lot of experience in this field – what were his main reasons for founding the company?

Guy strongly believes in strong growth potential of the Russian data centre market. Therefore, IXcellerate is here for the long run. We invest heavily into our team, infrastructure and service quality. We’re opening the largest data hall in the country, and have invested in the best technology and connectivity. Our partner ecosystem is rapidly expanding. The staff runs regular trainings and professional development programs.

Are your customers primarily cloud service providers, carriers or other service providers? How is that changing?

IXcellerate is cloud and carrier neutral data centre providing pure play colocation services. We focus on our partner ecosystem to offer customers the best choice of added value services here onsite, which means that we do not compete with cloud and other service providers. Currently we have nearly 50 carriers and well over 10 cloud providers and system integrators. The rest are direct end-users (enterprises). The share of cloud and other service providers grows faster following the hypercloud and converged infrastructure market trends.

What are the biggest challenges to the Russian market? What needs to be done to overcome them?

I strongly believe that every challenge is an opportunity that could be used to further grow your business. At the moment a typical customer in Russia is challenged to prioritize quality over price, but we see this changing rapidly. Some of the market players are focused on extracting short-term gains, rather than playing the long-term game. But this gives such “marathon” runners as IXcellerate strong advantage in the future – we will have resources, standards, partnerships, reputation ready to meet the upcoming needs of the market.

You are attending Capacity Russia and CIS – what are you hoping to get out of the event?

IXcellerate takes part in Capacity Russia and CIS to share our market expertise and showcase our business to the audience of this great event. We hope to meet new partners, clients, exchange opinions with industry experts and convince those still uncertain, that Russia is a great country to locate a corporate data hub. We will proudly announce Eurasia Peering capabilities for all IXcellerate’s residents and potential peers from Russia and abroad. Another important discussion to be opened is localisation of personal data, which consistently now being addressed by majority of global players and carriers.