When it comes to attracting the world’s best and most efficient data centres, Ireland’s competitive advantages are proving irresistible for the world’s top technology companies, writes Leo Clancy head of Technology, Content and Business Services.
Apple always grabs headlines so when the tech superstar announced its new €850 million, 120,000 sq metre data centre in Co Galway on Ireland’s west coast it garnered massive media attention. This is continuing a significant recent trend.
Dublin is already home to one of the largest clusters of data centres in Europe, with large-scale operations, including the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon and now Apple. Data centre operators, such as TeleCity Group, BT and Digital Realty, also have established a footprint here and we have a growing community of local operators like eircom and CIX. The users of these co-location centres include many global leaders in technology such as Yahoo!.
So, why has Ireland become such a magnet for data centres?
Ireland’s ‘free air-cooling’ climate dramatically reduces the cost of hosting data. Indeed, using the international ‘degree day’ standard, which is used to estimate air conditioning usage during the warm season, Ireland has the least need of cooling or air conditioning, with only 19 degree days required, compared with 40 in Iceland and 43 in Norway, according to the World Resources Institute.
This dramatically reduces the cost of hosting data and has the potential to save companies a significant amount in the running costs of their facility each year.
Ireland’s renewable energy credentials are also becoming increasingly important. Homegrown renewable energy, especially wind, is now a major part of Ireland’s investment draw. Ireland will generate 40% of national energy needs from renewables by 2020.
Ireland has one of the most advanced and competitive telecommunications infrastructures in Europe and provides access to high speed, low-latency networks to the US, UK and EU. This was obviously an absolute requirement for the likes of Apple, Google and Microsoft, when it came to choosing Ireland as a data centre location.
And this base is growing — in December and April respectively —Hibernia Atlantic and AEC announced new international connectivity options to the US from the South West and West coasts of Ireland.
Ireland’s thriving Technology sector also provides a highly attractive proposition. Nine of the world’s top 10 ICT companies are located here and the tech sector employs over 100,000 people. This brings with it a highly educated, tech-savvy and flexible workforce.
For Data Protection we have one of the most competent and experienced regulatory regimes in the world. Twitter recently announced that Irish privacy and data protection law would apply for non-US users, joining other companies with International HQs in Ireland.
Companies establishing data centre operations in Ireland are also investing in one of the most business friendly economies in the world. The Economist Intelligence Unit places Ireland 11th globally out of 82 countries in its survey of the most attractive business locations in the world. Additionally, the TMF Group’s Global Benchmark Complexity Index ranked Ireland as the third least complex country for multinationals to do business in 2014.
All of this of course comes bundled with the added attraction of the lowest corporate tax rate in Europe (12.5%) and the excellent government support offered to enterprises establishing operations in Ireland.
Companies choose Ireland because of its strong track record in delivering data centre projects. And IDA Ireland plays a significant role in this through its property portfolio, which offers large scale, utility-intensive solutions and cost effective greenfield and brownfield sites. We also advise clients with all steps of dealing with agencies and connecting with the very experienced community of service providers.
With all of these competitive advantages it should be no surprise that, according to the 451 Group, Ireland’s data centre industry will over take the UK and mainland European locations and grow by 18% over the next three years.
And with data increasingly becoming the lifeblood of the global economy, Ireland is well positioned to thrive as a location for the world’s best and most efficient data centres well into the future.
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