London-headquartered Russian data center company IXcellerate plans to build a large campus in the south of Moscow.

The company has acquired a 34-acre plot of land in the city that was previously home to a brewery. The site could support 200MW of critical load across 20,000 racks, but will originally start much smaller.

The first data center on the site, Moscow Five (MOS5), will be located in an existing 26,000 sq m (280,000 sq ft) building. It will start as a 4MW deployment in Q3 2021, with another 8MW coming in Q4 or early next year, company CEO Guy Willner told DCD.

Should the new campus meet IXcellerate's lofty expansion goals, it would become the largest data center campus in Russia. State-owned telco Rostelecom is currently on track to build Russia's largest data center, next to a nuclear power plant in Tver. It is expected to be home to 4,000 racks by the end of 2021, eventually rising to up to 10,000 racks with 80MW of power.

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Betting big on Russia, with the help of Chinese cloud companies

Moscow skyline
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IXcellerate currently operates the Moscow One and Two data centers, each with around 13.5MW of available power.

"[Moscow] 3 and 4 are in design stage for our current north Moscow campus," Willner said, with the facilities expected to add "around 16MW of additional IT power capacity."

The company hopes to build multiple data centers at its new southern campus "by adapting other warehouse structures or by demolition and rebuild." It is considering adding the data center to the city's municipal heating system.

IXcellerate's existing facilities grew with the help of large anchor tenants, with its Moscow One facility gaining China's Tencent Cloud as a major customer in 2018, with an initial order to support 600 racks. Other customers include Huawei, Nestlé, and the Agricultural Bank of China.

"Almost 70 percent of our growth last year came from existing customers and ‎so we expect many to expand into the second campus," Willner said. "We are already discussing multiple MW projects for M5 but will start building speculatively."

In 2019, IXcellerate announced it would spend $260 million on expanding its existing sites and planned to operate at least five data centers by 2023.

"We are about halfway so are on track to slightly exceed [investment] projections," Willner said. "We are now Goldman Sachs' single largest investment in Russia."

Beyond expansion in Moscow, Willner said that "it is likely IXcellerate will open St. Petersburg at some point and also look east during 2022/23 as there are over a dozen cities ‎with a population over a million in Russia."