Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

Going down to Earth: alternatives to cloud solutions under sanctions

Since the end of February 2022, domestic business has been at risk of losing critical data and online tools for team management. Some foreign manufacturers and developers revoked licenses for cloud services, and also suspended the supply of server equipment. Do we need to abandon online solutions, what can replace foreign server equipment and should we wait for the return of international vendors?

Unstable present

Until recently, Russian business believed that the IT world in the era of globalization is open and safe. We used foreign services, stored data in the cloud, interacted with employees from other countries, transmitting critical information over the network. After February 24, world business faced an unprecedented situation, but in fact only representatives of the Russian market felt it. The business did not expect that even with security guarantees, manufacturers would be able to stop support.

Meanwhile, in Russia, most companies almost do not use domestic services. In 2018, only in the public sector, 82% of enterprises worked through foreign software. After the sanctions were imposed, Russian business was cut off not only from amenities, but also from critical information. For example, Lenta, Magnit, Severstal, Russian Railways and other large companies used SAP cloud solutions. In March, customers from Russia lost support and maintenance of local products. Clouds are not only about storing files and organizing remote access for employees, but also software solutions running on foreign servers. “Cutting the wire” means hitting infrastructure for Russian companies. In such a situation, it remains only to look quickly for alternative solutions to maintain work processes.

Alternatives in the market

Russia has lot of own manufacturers of server and infrastructure equipment. The equipment of YADRO, Aquarius and other companies is successfully used in domestic business. In the context of Russian online services, there are also many alternatives that can replace Google Cloud, Amazon Cloud and other popular cloud storage services. For example, solutions from Mail, Yandex, Sberbank and Megafon, the demand increase for which multiplied in March. However, I would recommend that businesses, especially today, in addition to cloud solutions, protect themselves by acquiring their own storage.

As for online tools for distributed work, so far there is no complete alternative to the same Atlassian or Miro on the Russian market. Bitrix 24 and 1C solutions do not compensate for the functionality of international standards. Therefore, some large companies, not finding worthy “boxed” solutions, began to develop their own ones. From such private products, within six months or a year, we can get ready-made domestic software – analogues of Jira, Miro and other products that can be used by startups and small companies. Of course, this can happen with sufficient funding and support.

Life after “stops”

Now business is increasingly trusting physical equipment than cloud solutions. We have seen a multiple increase in sales of Huawei, Zelax, Eltex in March. In the short term, creating your own data centers is more expensive than “clouds.” However, the equipment will pay off in five years (the average service life is fifteen years), and the information is guaranteed to remain within the company.

I’m sure most brands will come back over time. The Russian market is large, and the economy is developing rapidly. The country constantly requires imported high-tech equipment. However, it is important for businesses to get tools to work now. Therefore, I repeat, it is worth taking a closer look at the numerous alternatives to the once popular foreign solutions.

I advise Russian business:

  • Output data from foreign “clouds.” If it is impossible to abandon online services completely, then switch to hybrid formats or domestic solutions. Create your own data centers and transfer critical information to yourself.
  • Purchase Russian-made equipment or equipment from strategic allies of the Russian Federation. Huawei, Lenovo, Rekor, Sitronics, Qtech, Aquarius and other manufacturers offer a wide range of decent products. For example, Huawei Dorado 3000 V6, 5000 V6 storage, AERODISK East storage, as well as servers from QTECH, YADRO, Sitronics.
  • Do not use VPN services to launch foreign services. In this way, you will create the risk of transmitting traffic to third parties. In addition, it is not known whether VPN solutions will be banned soon. The best action will already be to look for domestic alternatives or create your own software.
  • Do not wait for the return of the departed companies to the domestic market. Work now. Watch for new players who will quickly appear in Russia in the coming year. For example, I expect a surge in popularity for solutions from BDCOM and Uniview. The companies are quite well known in China, but have not previously been represented in our country.

By Alexander Manoylov, NBCom Group Business Development Manager

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