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Cloud Providers in Russia with Own Data Centers: Who Are Top 5 for Customer Service?

01.11.2018 12 minutes 1096

An ever-increasing demand for cloud services is boosting the number of cloud provider’s must-haves and must-does. In addition to reliability and extra service guarantees, today’s commercial data centers also have to improve customer experience and offer more user-friendly services.

The Russian cloud market is growing by 25-30% a year, outpacing the IT market. According to TAdviser, over 60% of enterprises across various sectors in Russia admitted to using cloud services in H1 2017. The main cloud adoption driver is still more cost-effective performance powered by hardware or software as a service and business process optimization opportunities.


IaaS is the most popular cloud service in Russia, as it helps large businesses ensure resource scalability and cost optimization. Customers are increasingly choosing virtual infrastructure as a universal environment for product roll-out and business development, cloud service providers say.


A share of cloud services in commercial data centers was some 30% in 2016 and is expected to keep growing. At the same time, the market sees a shortage of high-quality disaster-tolerant sites that meet international standards. According to iKS-Consulting, the strongest position today (both by service flexibility and viability) is held by owners of large fault-tolerant data centers that have sufficient resources to make competitive offerings.


Comparing cloud providers having own data centers by reliability and flexibility


Company

Cloud DС

DataLine

DataPRO

Selectel

CROC

Number of own data centers

0.3

0.4

0.3

0.9

0.5

Data center certification

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.3

0.6

Total number of data center maintenance employees and their certification

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.3

0.7

SLA

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.4

0.7

Data center service management

Automation, APIs

0.1

0.7

0.1

0.9

0.9

Portal functionality

0.1

0.6

0.1

0.5

0.7

Number of hypervisors

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.7

Performance parameters

Disk performance manageability (confirmed)

0.5

0.7

0.5

0.7

0.7

Available VM size

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

Customization options

0.5

0.6

0.5

0.5

0.7



Source: TAdviser, 2017

New economic climate

Selectel noted that the awareness and competence of Russian cloud customers have dramatically raised lately.


«Just several years ago, customers did not know the first thing about clouds, while today they come to us with well thought-out requests. Service reliability and fault-tolerance standards are getting more and more stringent. Being once a mere formality, SLA is a crucial document now,» said Alexander Tugov, Product Director, Selectel.


Today, data center customers need a more comprehensive approach. Virtual infrastructure is not enough anymore and must be complemented with information system support and administration," noted Alexey Sevastyanov, First Deputy CEO, DataLine. «Many customers also ask for a cloud infrastructure compliant with Federal Law 152-FZ.


Cloud service requirements are becoming more stringent, with automation now also becoming a top priority both in terms of technology (e.g., API for all services), and service (e-document management, automatic billing, etc.). Alexander Tugov believes that the better processes are automated, the more attractive such provider is for customers.


„One of the key requirements is continuous operation of business-critical systems hosted in the cloud,“ confirms Maxim Berezin, Cloud Service Development Director, CROC.


SLA is not just about availability and the number of 9s after a decimal point, but rather about technical parameters guaranteed by a service provider. SLA with many 9s but non-stringent parameters is almost impossible to break. CROC’s cloud SLA, still being the strictest in the market, provides for high penalties and major warranties. For example, we guarantee disk subsystem performance of up to 100,000 IOPS and maximum allowed performance degradation of 3%. Therefore, our cloud can host business-critical and extremely resource-intensive services."


Provider selection criteria

When selecting a cloud service provider, Russian customers do not just look at prices anymore. According to Selectel, when it comes to large and long-term projects, customers also pay attention to provider’s reputation, experience, finance and organizational stability, and portfolio of large infrastructure projects. Alexander Tugov added that lacking their own IT specialists, SMB customers opt for providers that offer extended technical support and remote administration.


Alexey Sevastyanov believes they need a cloud provider that ensures flexible resource provisioning and scaling as requested, has its own data center, is in good standing, and offers related services (administration, backup, disaster recovery, migration consulting, and so on).


As customers mature, they start paying more attention to a data center itself. CROC experts believe customer trust depends on cloud fault-tolerance and technical support quality and speed. Other important factors are cloud infrastructure manageability and availability of API and built-in cloud management automation tools. International customers may also be interested in compatibility with Amazon Web Services and ability to deploy hybrid elastic infrastructures that include foreign segments.


«Customers also require their cloud providers to have highly competent operation personnel, as it guarantees a data center continuity,» added Maxim Berezin. «Our data centers are maintained by professionals certified by the Uptime Institute in line with uninterrupted engineering system operation standards, with no other systems integrator in Russia having such a team on staff. Moreover, our team can work on customers’ sites, in case customers do not have their own specialists on staff.»


Today, providers start segmenting their offerings to adapt existing technologies and services to the needs of various users, leading to the emergence of special infrastructure services for big data and machine learning, cryptocurrency mining, and so on," said Alexander Tugov.


Maxim Berezin emphasized stable demand for computing capacity as a service and additional services, such as Backup as a Service (BaaS) or Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), that see 35-40% growth a year. At the same time, in the era of digital economy and high demand for IT service outsourcing, the provider is focused on developing managed services, including those based on its own data centers. According to CROC’s PR team, the company provides 50+ managed services today, from protection of data and IT infrastructure against failures to special-purpose services, such as BIM model from the cloud or cloud IoT platform.


«We also offer Hardware as a Service (HaaS) which sometimes is more cost-effective than the cloud over the period of 3-5 years provided that the load on the customer’s information systems is static and predictable. Customers can always use any of CROC’s three cloud platforms and temporarily increase computing resources at any time. Moreover, cloud platform service rates are included in an IaaS contract by default so that customers can use such services fast and without any additional formalities,» added Maxim Berezin.

Mapping Method

A map of top 5 reliable, flexible, and convenient cloud providers is based on their portfolio and service availability in terms of used technologies, quality of service, and prices.


The providers were compared by service reliability, guaranteed delivery, availability, manageability, scalability, performance, and localization.

In particular, the attention was paid to the availability and number of own certified data centers, engineer team qualification, SLA availability, guaranteed high server availability, quality of a management portal (if any), API, and proprietary development/customization opportunities.


Russian data center service providers already offer sufficient spaces and capacity and are actively improving service quality and expanding their offering. Going deeper and deeper into IaaS, customers lay emphasis on additional functionality and improvements/customization that will help them obtain new competitive advantages. As a result, the ability to flexibly and promptly meet changing market needs is becoming a new factor that strengthens the provider’s position on the market.

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