What makes Ireland the ultimate data centre capital of Europe?


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We regularly hear that Ireland has established itself as the ‘data capital of Europe’, with many of the world’s largest tech companies basing data centres here, but what exactly do we know about them?

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Ronan Harris, head of Google Ireland, recently described the country as the data capital of Europe and, going by industry reports, it’s hard to disagree.

Specifically, a detailed report published by global data analyst group 451 Advisors in 2013 predicted that Ireland’s data centre industry would overtake the UK and mainland Europe locations, with a growth rate of 18pc over the coming years.

What makes a good data centre?

One of the key reasons Ireland is seen as a good location in which to establish vast warehouses full of servers is down to the cold weather that many of us complain about on a regular basis. Additionally, you’ll find most Irish data centres clustered along the M50 motorway, which mirrors the route of the T50 fibre trunking system running from north to west Dublin.

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While cooling and connectivity are essential for operations, there are other technical standards that comprise Irish, and, indeed, any, data centres.

For example, square footage and energy usage contributes to what standard a data centre finds itself in. One such standard scrutinised by potential clients is power usage effectiveness (PUE), which divides the total facility energy into its IT equipment energy with the most ideal score being 1.0.

To close out Data Week, Siliconrepublic.com has compiled available information on 33 multinational and indigenous companies hosting data in Ireland.

ACI Worldwide

aciworldwide.com

Opening later this year in Limerick, ACI Worldwide’s EMEA data centre will offer SaaS-based solutions such as hosted e-payments, banking, fraud protection solutions and services. ACI Worldwide is one of the world’s largest universal payments companies, processing $13trn in payments and securities transactions for more than 300 of the leading global retailers, and 18 of the world’s 20 largest banks each day.  ___________________________________________

Amazon

aws.amazon.com

Amazon has a number of centres in Dublin, details of which are closely guarded. In all, it’s estimated Amazon has invested up to €1bn in its Irish operations since 2004, building multiple data centres in Blanchardstown, Clonshaugh and on the former site of a 240,000sq ft Tesco distribution centre in Tallaght, where it also bought an old Jacob’s biscuit factory last summer.

Apple

apple.com

Apple’s proposed data centre for Athenry, Co Galway has yet to be fully approved as locals have appealed the decision. However, the plan is to invest a whopping €850m in a 263,000sq ft green-energy facility that will provide general data storage for Apple.

Atlas Communications

atlas-comms.com

Family business Atlas Communications operates two wholly-owned data centres in Belfast and Derry. Offering cloud, co-location, virtual server, data storage, security, cloud telephony and unified comms services, clients include the Northern Ireland Science Park, Grand Opera House, MacNaughton Blair and Xcell Partners.

Aviva

aviva.ie

Aviva announced a €3m refresh of its Dublin data centre last summer. The modernisation of its IT infrastructure planned to reduce the insurer’s data-centre footprint by about a quarter, as well as deliver on energy saving.

Blacknight

Blacknight.com

Blacknight makes use of data centres run by Interxion and Equinix (formerly Telecity) in Dublin, but its main data centre for web hosting, dedicated servers, cloud hosting and co-location is in Carlow. €1m was earmarked for phase one of the build of the green-tech data centre with 2MW capacity and a PUE of 1.1 to 1.2.

 

BT data centre in Citywest, Dublin

A glimpse inside BT’s data centre in Citywest, Dublin. Photo via Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

 

BT

btireland.com

BT has a network of 48 data centres around the world, in which Dublin is one of 22 cloud-enabled centres. BT has invested more than €60m over 15 years in its Citywest campus with a footprint of 110,000sq ft and power capacity of 11MW. The global telco has also recently invested £4m to improve its PUE, reducing power consumption by 20pc. BT also has a data centre in Belfast, providing an all-island service. ___________________________________________

Carphone Warehouse

carphonewarehouse.ie

Carphone Warehouse’s Citywest data centre powers its new mobile network, iD, using technical infrastructure powered by Huawei and Mvneco. The centre was announced along with a €6m investment in 2014.

Citadel100

citadel100.com

The site at 4033 Citywest Avenue in Dublin has been a data centre by many names. Originally built by Metromedia for $75m, Noel Meaney led a management buyout of this struggling company at the turn of the century and moved on by establishing data centre firm Citadel100 in 2002. The site was re-opened with HP in 2003 and, three years later, was housing over 25,000 servers and accelerating towards capacity. Custom-built as a Class A data centre, this 120,000sq ft building includes 65,000sq ft of raised-floor co-location space divided across eight suites. Claiming one of the highest power densities in Europe (up to 2KW per square metre), the specialised design of the Citywest site includes sophisticated fire detection and extinguishing systems, climate control and ventilation.

CIX

cix.ie

The Cork Internet Exchange (CIX) at Holyhill supports most multinationals in Munster and is the connectivity centre for inbound and outbound IP traffic in the region, while also serving tens of thousands of homes with broadband. With an investment of €5m to date, this 32,291sq ft 1MW site plans to expand to 4MW capacity. Clients include Hibernia, Xanadu, Beecher Networks, DEITG, TexunaTech and Titan Technology Solutions.

Data City Exchange

datacityexchange.com

Data City Exchange was founded in 2008 to provide ‘pay as you grow’ networked data centre solutions to the global corporate market. As well as offering rapid design and deployment of Evo-POD data centres to organisations, Data City Exchange operates its own data facilities connected to global fibre networks. DCE Belfast in the historic Titanic Quarter, Belfast is the network’s flagship location, while DCE Dublin in Park West benefits from direct access to the T50 fibre ring.

Dataplex

dataplex.ie

Dataplex’s B10 data centre at Ballycoolin Business and Technology Park in Dublin supports over 20 international carriers across 75,347sq ft of real estate with a PUE rating of 1.15.

Digital Realty

digitalrealty.ie

This fast-growing player opened its €150m campus in Profile Park, Dublin in 2014 with plans for phased development across four buildings, totalling 85,000sq ft. These 15.36MW facilities run entirely on renewable energy and have a PUE rating of 1.15. In June 2015, Sungard Availability Services announced an expansion in the Irish market through a partnership with Digital Realty at Profile Park. In addition, Digital Realty owns data centre properties in Blanchardstown and Clonshaugh (the latter of which is leased to Eir).

Eir

eir.ie

Irish telco Eir has facilities in Dublin city centre, Citywest, Clonshaugh and Dundrum, offering dual-site co-location and Tier 1 connectivity to US, European and UK destinations. The Citywest site has listed the HSE, Department of Motor Tax and major software companies as clients, while the 473,000sq ft Clonshaugh site is leased from Digital Realty.

EMC (Dell)

ireland.emc.com

In December 2014, EMC filed for planning permission to build a data centre in Ovens, Co Cork, adjacent to its existing facility, within a 10-year period. Less than a year later, Dell announced it would acquire EMC in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $67bn – the largest acquisition in tech history.

Equinix

equinix.com

When Equinix acquired Telecity Group, it added four data centres dotted around west Dublin to its portfolio. These facilities range in size (35,951sq ft, 22,604 sq ft, 67,490 sq ft) and capacity (3.6MW, 6.9MW) and clients include Blacknight, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Eir and ESB.

Facebook

facebook.com

A 220-acre in Clonee, Co Meath will be home to Facebook’s €200m data centre, scheduled to open sometime between late 2017 and early 2018. The Irish data centre will handle the data of Facebook users from around the world using 100pc renewable energy. It will also feature the latest server, storage and network designs developed through the Open Compute Project.

 

Facebook data centre, Ireland (visualisation)

A visualisation of Facebook’s planned data centre in Clonee, Co Meath

 

Google

google.com

In August 2015, Google announced it would invest €150m to build a new data centre at Profile Park in Dublin. Google first opened a data centre at Profile Park back in September 2012, investing €75m to transform a warehouse into their third energy-efficient data centre in Europe. ___________________________________________

Hutchison 3G

three.ie

Hutchison 3G Ireland – known better by its network brand, Three – has data hosted across five data centres across Ireland: one in Limerick and four in Dublin (including, according to a 2013 document filed with ComReg, the Citadel100 site).

i3 Digital

i3digital.com

i3 Digital’s Northern Ireland data centre provides hosting services for partners such as HP, Dell and Cisco, and upstream services for partners such as BT. The centre is located in Telephone House in the heart of Belfast, which may well be remembered for a fire last summer that was blamed for internet problems in the area.

IBM

ibm.com

IBM’s Data Suite 1 and Data Suite 2 in Mulhuddart, Dublin have a combined valuation of €18m. The second facility was built adjacent to the first in 2011, covering 5,381sq ft with a capacity of 775KW.

Interxion

interxion.com

Interxion’s DUB1 and DUB2 data centres are situated in Park West, Dublin while DUB3 is located in Grange Castle Business Park, all west of the city. This last site will have a footprint of 24,786sq ft and capacity of 5MW when it opens later this year following a €28m investment.

Mentor Graphics

mentor.com

US-based multinational Mentor Graphics chose Shannon, Co Clare for the location of its multi-million-dollar EMEA data centre, officially opened in 2012. The regional data centre is built on a two-and-a-half-acre site in East Park, and construction of the Tier 2+ data centre with plant facilities and supporting office space cost €17.4m.

Microsoft

microsoft.com

Dublin’s Grange Castle Business Park is home to Microsoft’s 150,000sq ft data centre which, over the years, has amounted to a whopping $2bn investment in Ireland.

Paddy Power Betfair

paddypowerbetfair.com

Betfair announced that it would relocate customer operations to Ireland from the UK and open a data centre in Dublin in 2010. According to then-CTO Tony McAlister, this data centre migration was the largest infrastructure project in the company’s history. The new data centre was owned by a third party but managed by Betfair staff. Paddy Power CIO Fin Goulding told Siliconrepublic.com editor John Kennedy in 2015: “We don’t own our own data centres, we actually rent the space and manage it ourselves.” Now merged as Paddy Power Betfair, the company HQ remains at Power Tower in Clonskeagh, south Dublin.

PlanNet 21

plannet21.ie

PlanNet 21 intends for its Dublin data centre to have the country’s lowest PUE rating when it opens in November. A €20m investment in the 10,000sq ft Blanchardstown site (including almost 5,000sq ft in business continuity or disaster recovery seating) was announced last year.

Servecentric

servecentric.com

Servecentric’s Blanchardstown, Dublin data centre provides managed firewall, load balancing, back-up monitoring and virtualisation services for clients such as BT, Eir, ESB Telecoms, EU Networks, Vodafone and Verizon. The power system of the facility has the capability of a full 10MVa load. Servecentric has also secured cross-border permission for a 64,000sq ft £150m facility on the Derry-Donegal border.

Sungard Availability Services

sungardas.ie

Sungard Availability Services acquired Irish hosting provider Hosting365 in 2010 for an undisclosed sum, securing a data centre in Park West, Dublin as part of the deal. In all, Sungard AS operates a trio of Dublin data centres, with another in Clonshaugh and a partnership with Digital Realty at its Profile Park facility.

 

Watch this video for a tour of Blacknight’s data centre in Carlow.

Tableau Software

tableau.com

Tableau Software launched its Dublin data centre – its first in Europe – in January this year. Existing customers had the option to migrate data to the Dublin-based centre, while new customers could select their preferred location: North America or Europe. The Dublin site is ISO27001-certified and is twinned with a disaster recovery location in Munich, where data protection requirements are strict. ________________________________________

Viatel (Digiweb)

viatel.com

As of 2013, Digiweb is the parent company of Viatel, which operates a data centre in Blanchardstown, Dublin. Viatel continues to offer flexible infrastructure for co-location, managed services and data back-up.

Vodafone

vodafone.com

Vodafone invested €7m in its 55,000sq ft data centre in Clonshaugh, Dublin last year, offering new services as part of a Vodafone Cloud and Hosting network of 18 data centres across Ireland, the UK, Germany and South Africa.

Web World Ireland

webworld.ie

Web World Irleand’s owner-operated data centre in Tallaght, Dublin provides hosting and server co-location services to clients such as Scentia Solar and MyITdepartment.ie.

Zendesk

zendesk.com

In 2013, Zendesk officially launched its first European data centre in Dublin for the purpose of keeping its EU customers’ data within the region. More than 100m people in 140 countries get their customer service through Zendesk, which has over 7,500 customers in Europe, including Just Giving, Gov.uk, L’Oréal and Glasgow NHS.

 

While every effort has been made to provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on Irish data centres, we recognise that there is more that could be added to the above list. If you would like to share data you think is missing from this report, let us know @siliconrepublic on Twitter or by emailing editorial@siliconrepublic.com.

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Main network cables image via Shutterstock

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