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September 14, 2015

Apple enters Moscow colo, Russian data law comes into force

New law leads Apple to sign into local colo provider IXcellerate to store iCloud data.

By Joao Lima

Apple has rented space at collocation provider IXcellerate’s Moscow One data centre to comply with the country’s law on data location.

The iPhone maker has become one of the first big western tech companies to make the shift and start storing iCloud data in the country.

Twitter and Facebook have been given until January 2016 by the Russian data protection authority, Roscomnadzor, to make the necessary preparations to store data in Russia, following the companies’ dispute with the Government to block certain political pages, according to reports.

A source told Russian newspaper Kommersant: "This is a serious and a major contract [between Apple and IXcellerate]."

The source said Apple has rented 50 IT cabinets at the 15.000 sq mt carrier-neutral Moscow One data centre, which already houses services from

Sergey Plugotarenko, director at the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC) told the Wall Street Journal: "Hypothetically, if Apple’s services were blocked in Russia, it would have caused great dissatisfaction and social tensions among Russian-speaking users.

"As a product and service, companies are the most different segments of the population: from students to politicians, from businessmen to scientists."

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Russia approved the data location law last year, which became effective on September 1. Under the new regime developed by telecoms authority Roscomnadzor, data from Russian people has to be kept in Russia.

Following the announcement by the country’s authorities, Gartner issued a warning to organisations advising them to prepare contingency plans for business processes and IT systems to store some or all data in Russia.

The analyst firm added that the new law will have a major effect on internet organisations, as well as online stores, online resources used for booking airline tickets and hotels, insurance companies and other organisations, as they will have to change the way they store information on Russian citizens.

Petr Gorodetskiy, senior research analyst at Gartner , said: "Although more clarifications are needed around the law, we advise companies that process Russian citizens’ personal data to make their business executives aware of the upcoming legal and investment requirements.

"They also need to seek clarification from Russian authorities, where possible, and prepare plans for moving data (or data centres) to Russian soil or find alternative ways to mitigate this compliance risk."

According to research by Circuit Exchange and 42Future, only 10% of customers in some of the country’s largest data centre providers had successfully moved data as of September 1, with the slow implementation being blamed on a lack of clear understanding of the new legislation by data centre clients.

Russian data centre boom

The need for more storage space has led the Russian data centre market into a much needed boom, with Russian billionaire Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska, president of En+ Group, announcing plans to invest $355 million in a series of data centres in Eastern Siberia.

The first hub is due to be completed before the end of this year and is located in Irkutsk, next to Lake Baikal, where En+ operated three dams, according to Bloomberg.

Research firm IDC said the Russian commercial data centre market was worth $456 million in 2013, a value that could go up by 20% this year.

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