Irish Govt and EMC create new cloud innovation centre

13 Feb 2012

Bob Savage, vice-president and managing director of EMC's Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Cork with EMC global HR chief Jack Mollen; the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, TD, and EMC country manager Jason Ward

If the vision comes to fruition, a little country like Ireland could emerge as the home of big data. The Government of Ireland and data storage giant EMC, along with Cisco, VCE, VMware and the IDA revealed plans to create a major cloud innovation centre.

The new centre, which will consist of two world-class private cloud infrastructures that will sit inside both EMC and on the Irish Government’s data infrastructure, will perform a number of important roles.

Firstly, the innovation centre will allow indigenous SMEs and multinationals to test, develop and demonstrate apps that could be used by the public sector.

Secondly, it will provide public-sector departments and agencies with a platform to trial new cloud solutions and avoid costly IT blunders.

The centre will also promote Ireland as a leader in the cloud computing and big data industries and provide entrepreneurs and start-ups with an opportunity to vie for Government contracts that would have been out of reach.

EMC country manager Jason Ward said that big data is undergoing a “hockey stick” curve of growth and organisations need to transform what they do with the large volumes of data that are being generated and derive value.

“Think of the propagation of smartphones, they have outpaced PCs sales for the first time in the last year. Big data and cloud can take credit for a cognitive shift that’s happening in organisations that are bringing together previously siloed departments. This is a wake-up call that there’s a new type of thinking required. Cloud is driving operational efficiencies and big data will enable people to pick apart information and find the silver lining.”

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said that in terms of the major investments by players like EMC, Microsoft, Google, Intel, IBM and others, Ireland is emerging as a global leader for cloud computing. “This can be a driver of innovation and growth.

“We intend to bring forward Government cloud strategies and we’re working with industry players and employers.”

Big data is a massive opportunity for small countries and small firms

Also present at the announcement was EMC’s executive vice-president of human resources, Jack Mollen. “Ireland is a very important part of EMC. The talent Ireland has to offer the world is second to none.”

Highlighting the importance of cloud computing and the economies and opportunities that can emerge for start-ups, Mollen said: “Six years ago, there were no consumer apps available via iTunes, for example. Today, there are half a million apps available, mostly built by small companies.

“The same phenomenon will happen to the enterprise and Government sectors.

“There will be platforms where its no longer necessary to have your own data centres, but you can utilise and share other people’s platforms.”

Mollen said the new innovation centre will facilitate not only the innovation of third-party Irish SME organisations, but will facilitate the testing and proof of integration between legacy and cloud applications.

“Until now in organisations like governments, there were systems that other departments couldn’t use, that will change. To prove this point, we will open this up with a new development lab that will allow new software vendors to come in and build and sell software.

“This will be software that will not only be sold in Ireland but around the world, creating new jobs in Ireland,” Mollen said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years