It seems that the new data storage systems (DSS), which telecom operators will have to buy to implement the so-called “Spring Law”, will be 90% made up of foreign components. Operators used imported “iron” before, but now they are likely to buy it at a triple price under the “Made in Russia” label. We tried to understand the mechanism of such "import substitution".
The Russian government is preparing a resolution that will oblige telecom operators to use domestic data storage systems (DSS). We are talking about the execution of the so-called "Law of Spring", according to which operators must keep all user traffic for six months. The decree has not yet been adopted, the draft document was published on the state portal Regulation.gov.ru. The correspondent of "Our Version" studied this text and came to the conclusion that the government's initiative clearly demonstrates the failure of the import substitution announced by him.
At first glance, the document mentioned by us rhymes with the instruction that Vladimir Putin gave to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media in the summer of 2016. The President demanded that the production of equipment necessary for storing large amounts of data in Russia be established. The draft resolution states that the equipment for storage of traffic must have a conclusion confirming its domestic origin. In turn, the procedure for issuing such opinions for a wide range of industrial products is governed by Government Decree No. 719 of July 17, 2015. And in this document the main cunning is hidden, which, in fact, frees our officials from the need to create new enterprises for the production of computer "hardware".
The annex to Resolution No. 719, in the part dealing with data storage systems, says: “On January 1, 2025, the percentage of the cost used in the manufacture of foreign components is no more than 15 percent of the price of goods. And there it is also indicated that this requirement “is presented to the product in the basic configuration without taking into account the cost of data storage devices - hard magnetic disks, solid-state disks, magnetic tapes”. What elements of storage are subject to import substitution in this case?
Japanese disc in Russian packaging
High-capacity hard disk drives (HDDs) are the foundation of modern storage systems. These devices account for 90% of the cost of storage. Another 10% are enclosures (racks), power supply units and disk management systems. As follows from the above resolutions and draft resolutions of our Cabinet, if this small part of the storage system components is Russian, the whole system can be safely considered domestic. Just imagine what beautiful reports the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications will write in 2025! Moreover, the racks, power supplies and control systems for servers are already being produced in Russia.
For example, the Russian company Promobit is developing data storage systems based on the domestic Elbrus processor. However, she recommends using hard drives from American manufacturers HGST and Seagate as drives. There are no high-capacity Russian “hard drives” in the list of recommended equipment. Because in nature they do not exist. In total in the world there were 200 companies that produced HDDs, by now, as a result of bankruptcies and mergers / acquisitions, there are only three leaders left - the same American Seagate and HGST, as well as Japanese Toshiba.
Judging by the documents adopted by the government of the Russian Federation, our country's dependence on foreign computer components will continue even after 2025.
Why was it necessary to start this whole story, if the communication operators already bought foreign storage systems? The situation is that the beneficiaries of the “Spring Law” are companies that are trying to monopolize the domestic market of data storage systems. Here, for example, the release of the supposedly all-Russian storage system was organized by Rostec's subsidiary company National Technologies. We are talking about the Kupol system, which the Citadel group of companies is now actively selling to telecom operators, one of the founders of which is the same National Technologies. What kind of HDD will we see inside this “Dome”? It is likely that all the same HGST, Seagate and Toshiba.
If everything is exactly as we assumed, then Rostec's “daughter” can simply sell “hardware” to telecom operators, which they could buy cheaper from authorized dealers. Apparently, nationwide, we are talking about tens and even hundreds of billions of rubles, which ultimately have to pay to users of the Internet and cellular communications. With all this, the production of modern HDD high capacity in Russia will not be able to establish.