Russia’s state banking giant Sberbank opened the country’s biggest data-processing centre at the Skolkovo innovation centre over the weekend.

The Sberbank data-processing centre at Skolkovo is the biggest in Russia and one of the biggest in Europe. Photo:

The data-processing centre – one of the biggest in Europe – will ensure the continuous operating of the bank’s automated systems. It covers about 33,000 square metres that include 20 equipment rooms containing five power units, in which up to 24,000 servers can be installed. The centre can house up to one exabyte of information.

The first stage of the data-processing centre was launched on Saturday at a ceremony attended by Sberbank CEO German Gref, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov, and Skolkovo Foundation president Victor Vekselberg.

“Construction of four stages cost about 14 billion rubles ($238 million), and a fifth stage is currently being completed,” Gref was cited as saying by the TASS news agency, adding that the company would soon make a decision on whether to build a sixth stage too. The project’s payback period is estimated at two years.

The building is equipped with a ventilation and cooling system that includes elements of artificial intelligence to control the temperature in the equipment rooms using purified air from outside. The heat generated by the equipment is used to heat the building, and this will enable Sberbank to save about 5 million rubles a year, the company estimates. In the future, the system will save the bank up to 100 million rubles per year in electricity bills compared to standard air conditioning systems.

The data-processing centre is one of two Sberbank facilities inside Skolkovo: the second is the Sberbank technopark, which is being built to a design by the award-winning late British architect Zaha Hadid.

For now, the data-processing centre is exclusively for Sberbank’s needs, but its functions will soon be extended, said Vekselberg.

“It’s planned that the infrastructure for the data-processing centre will in the future provide cloud services for Skolkovo Foundation resident companies,” he said at the opening ceremony.

“The data-processing centre is one of two Sberbank facilities inside Skolkovo: the second is the Sberbank technopark, which is still being built,” Anton Yakovenko, director general of UDAS, the legal entity responsible for the construction of Skolkovo, told Business FM.

“For us, this facility [the data-processing centre] is crucial, because we understand which direction Sberbank is moving in: it is transforming from a bank into a financial technology company. This is one of the key sectors that the Skolkovo project is focusing on and which it aims to develop,” he explained.

The Sberbank technopark is being built to a design by the architectural bureau of the late British architect Zaha Hadid.

Sberbank already works with a range of Skolkovo startups. Last month it acquired a 25.07 percent stake in VisionLabs, which has been ranked one of the world’s best face recognition technology companies.

“The use of the VisionLabs platform at Sberbank will be the largest-scale application of biometric data in Russia, and one of the largest-scale applications in the world in terms of the number of clients,” VisionLabs CEO Alexander Khanin told