Alexey Likhachev: ‘Unfriendly actions make changes, but they won't stop us’

Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom State Corporation, took part in the opening of the Innopolis data centre via video link, having failed to personally fly to Kazan due to the flight ban

Alexey Likhachev: ‘Unfriendly actions make changes, but they won't stop us’
Photo: пресс-служба Раиса РТ

“If enterprises buy hardware and put it somewhere themselves, it will be expensive. One server now costs about 1 million rubles. It is easier to rent in a data centrer than to “load” on credit for millions," they explained to journalists the benefits of opening the Innopolis data centre in the Tatarstan SEZ of the same name. Rosatom Group launched the first stage of the Innopolis data processing centre with 1,000 racks, the largest data centre in the Volga region, in the late afternoon yesterday. However, Minnikhanov had to open it without Alexey Likhachev — he went on the air via video link from Moscow. There is a grandiose project ahead to build a hydrogen station for Ammonia. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

From the fifth take

The opening of the first stage of the Innopolis data centre, built by a subsidiary of Rusenergoatom in the Innopolis SEZ, unexpectedly stretched for almost 4-5 hours — until the evening. Television crews entered the engine room several times, which was cleared of racks for the opening ceremony, but then returned back. As the journalists joked among themselves later: they managed to capture historical footage from the fifth take (that is, the opening ceremony was postponed four times). But even on them, the main guest of the celebration, head of Rosatom State Corporation Alexey Likhachev, was captured not live, but from a television screen.

This was the reason for the “fifth take”. Alexey Likhachev, CEO of Rosatom State Corporation, was unable to fly to Innopolis, as restrictions on flights at Kazan Airport were imposed in the morning. Although they were cancelled at 1:00 pm Moscow time, then, apparently, there were attempts to organise his arrival in Innopolis, but it did not work out. Only Dmitry Baydarov, the director of the Rosatom New Business Support Department, was on site, so they were going to hold the ceremony with his participation at first. And the forced pause of several hours was filled with a working trip by Minnikhanov to the enterprises of the residents of Innopark.

“No matter who tries, we're still together”

However, at the appointed time, the host of the ceremony unexpectedly announced the name of Alexey Likhachev, and then Rustam Minnikhanov. They immediately began to look for the CEO of Rosatom in the hall, but they saw him on the big screen. It turned out that at the last moment, the organisers set up a teleconference from Moscow with Innopolis, inviting the head of Rosatom on the air.

“Unfriendly actions against Russia make certain changes to our actions," Alexey Likhachev explained the forced “non-arrival”. “But we will never be stopped. We will fulfill all our goals and objectives," he assured.

“Unfortunately, all this had to take place in a face-to-face format, but based on the circumstances, no matter who tried, we are still together," Rustam Minnikhanov supported him. “Today is a big event for Innopolis and our republic and country. The data centre is a huge project implemented by Rosatom State Corporation. This is the largest facility in the federal district, and it is important that the technological solutions for the new centre are designed taking into account the import substitution strategy and meet modern safety standards," he was proud that Rosatom chose the Innopolis site.

As a result, Rustam Minnikhanov, Alexey Likhachev, the director general of Rosatom State Corporation, and Evgeny Abakumov, the director of Information Infrastructure at Rosatom State Corporation, launched the works via video link.

Marilyn Monroe Effect in computer room

The new data centre will provide data storage and processing services for various sectors of the economy, including the public sector, business and science. First of all, the data centre includes 1,000 server racks, which are divided into four computer rooms. The capacity is 8 MW. The peculiarity of the data centre is the need to maintain the temperature in the range of 22 degrees Celsius, therefore, an “eternal” cooling stream circulates in the hall. Chillers (air conditioners) are installed under the false floor, which raise cold air up and then lower it. After learning that the Marilyn Monroe effect was being created on the spot under them, the journalists took pictures.

Currently, ¼ of the computer rooms are loaded, and largely due to the transfer of Rosatom's critical infrastructure. But the company is confident that the data centre will be filled by the end of the year.

“If enterprises buy hardware and put it somewhere themselves, it will be expensive. One server now costs about 1 million rubles. It is easier to rent it in a data centre than to “load” on credit for millions," they explained to journalists the benefits of opening the Innopolis data centre during the tour. “There are contracts with large federal companies. It is expensive and difficult to buy own hardware and place it somewhere, providing a special regime. Therefore, companies from all over the country rent racks from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Communication is provided via a fiber-optic line. For example, Aeroflot is growing, but there are no free data centres. They turned to us.

Renting one rack with a capacity from 5 to 22 kW costs from 65 to 170 thousand rubles per month. Rosatom expects that the racks will be rented by the end of the year.

Rosatom's window to the East

The construction of the second stage of the data centre for 1 thousand racks has already begun. The final cost of the data centre was not announced, but in November 2022, a figure of 5.4 billion rubles appeared in the press. Given that the construction began in 2022 at the time of the start of its construction, the contractors had to purchase domestic equipment.

“The president and the government of Russia have entrusted Rosatom with a number of areas. The first and most important thing is the creation of sovereignty in a critically important information infrastructure," Alexey Likhachev said.

According to him, the corporation is working on the creation of hardware complexes and their replication, and provides cybersecurity services for these facilities. The head of Rosatom stressed that the Innopolis data centre occupies a special place — huge amounts of information and their calculations require high computer power and absolute security: “On the one hand, the Innopolis data centre joins a large system, and on the other hand, a new window opens to the East.”

Speaking about the usefulness for businesses, he noted that the data centre strengthens the technological power of Rosatom, and on the other hand, makes it possible to strengthen the information system of enterprises.

After the opening ceremony, Alexey Likhachev and Rustam Minnikhanov signed an agreement on the development of industrial potential to provide the nuclear industry with the necessary domestic equipment. The agreements involve the joint creation of high-tech and import-substituting equipment, which includes critical information infrastructure systems, specialised medical equipment, industrial automation, as well as logistical resources for the maintenance and repair of technological equipment. The document also stipulates the possibility of opening new production facilities in Tatarstan and increasing the share of domestic high-tech and import-substituting products used in the nuclear industry.

But it seems that the republic has a new grandiose hydrogen project ahead with Rosatom. Both Alexey Likhachev and Rustam Minnikhanov mentioned it in their speech.

“There is a topic of hydrogen related to scientific developments, to the nuclear complex," Likhachev noted.

“Hydrogen is an interesting topic," Minnikhanov said evasively.

There were no details, but perhaps, the parties returned to the idea of building a hydrogen station for Ammonia.

Luiza Ignatyeva

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