How Blackouts Affect IT Companies in Ukraine

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MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 15 Dec 2022

IT companies in Ukraine

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Despite the full-scale war, the IT industry in Ukraine remains confident. According to recent research of Lviv IT Cluster, in 2022, the export of IT services grew by 9.9% compared to 2021 and brought more than $6 billion in revenue. This means that Ukrainian developers continue generating value for global companies despite the hard times Ukrainians are going through.

This winter, Ukraine has faced a significant challenge – power outages imposed by the government aimed to ease the strain on the grid, which has been severely damaged in the aftermath of the Russian missile and drone attacks. Although the scenario of a total blackout is highly unlikely, many have to live in a situation of regular power outages. With that in mind, IT companies have obliged to do everything in their power to ensure their teams continue supporting their clients’ projects.

So, how did Ukrainian IT companies adjust to power outages?

In a nutshell, Ukrainian IT companies found that turning their offices into autonomous hubs is a viable solution to overcome the challenge of power outages and even the (unlikely) scenario of a total blackout. Indeed, the offices of many companies have become "safe havens" for employees (and their families) where they can work and enjoy all amenities they might miss at home during a blackout, including fast Internet connection, electricity, hot running water, heating, etc. 

Diesel generators. Autonomous power supplies, such as diesel generators that run on fuel, ensure offices have electricity, even when the lights are out in the neighborhood. Many leaders of IT companies in Ukraine forbade the possibility of blackouts several months in advance, so as a preparation step, they began purchasing and renting diesel generators and stocked up fuel to keep them running.

Diesel generators are supporting the power supply to such critical elements of the office as server rooms, water pump and heating systems, and Internet connection. Thanks to this, the offices are warm, light, and connected, so the engineers can work without any interruptions, including our teams at nCube.

Starlink. Starlink satellite Internet is crucial for Ukraine in this war, providing Internet connection when a mobile communication system or Internet cables are damaged or destroyed. Starlink is also one of the pillars of IT companies in Ukraine, helping their offices have a stable supply of Internet connection during blackouts. 

Many companies (our team at nCube included) combine Starlink with other sources of continuous access to the Internet, for example, signing up with multiple Internet providers and ones that offer powerful fiber-optic Internet. Thus, the combination of autonomous power generators and uninterrupted Internet access guarantee that offices can function stably for long periods of time without electricity. 

Charging stations. Portable power stations, such as EcoFlow and Bluetti, have become household names for Ukrainians. Many IT companies in Ukraine buy powerful Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and charging stations of all sorts en masse for their employees. Such devices let team members power their Wi-Fi routers and work autonomously at home for more than 24 hours. 

Coworking spaces. Ukraine is now undergoing a coworking boom. The providers of shared office spaces have made essential steps to turn them into autonomous hubs where engineers can go to work on their tasks for a fee. Coworking spaces of wartime in Ukraine have emergency power supplies, high-speed Internet, and facilities and meet the safety demands in case of air strike alarms. Many IT companies have signed up agreements with coworking providers as an alternative to working from the office, compensating the fees for coworking usage for their team members. Ukrainian developers even went as far as creating SviltoSpot, a website for a fast and simple search for available workplaces in Ukraine. 

Relocation. In light of the risk of prolonged power outages, many Ukrainian IT companies have relocated their teams abroad or to places in Ukraine that have autonomous power supplies, for example, hotels in the West of Ukraine. The relocation programs typically cover the cost of relocation and accommodation for team members and their families. 

When it comes to team location, nCube is a global company, allowing our clients to build their teams in Eastern Europe and LATAM. For those team members who stay in Ukraine, we provide all the needed support to ensure they are safe.  

Afterword

If the war has taught us anything, it is that the recipe for winning lies in self-organization. IT companies in Ukraine have shown great resilience by preparing BCP plans for power outages. As a result of this, IT specialists in Ukraine know exactly what to do and how to stay productive in case of a blackout.   

As a nation, Ukrainians are united as never before, helping each other in the face of daily challenges. The way Ukrainian IT companies support their employees says a lot about Ukrainians’ desire to continue working and bringing value to the local economy and global companies alike. Companies around the world see great potential in Ukrainian developers – and local IT service providers are strong enough to live up to their expectations.

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