HP re-opens Metromedia


4 Feb 2003

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Hewlett-Packard (HP) has re-opened a 60,000 sq ft data centre that was originally owned by the now defunct Metromedia in Citywest, Dublin. If all goes to plan 100 jobs could be created.

HP is understood to be leasing the former Metromedia data centre from Citywest Business Park management firm Davy Hickey Properties.

Before its parent firm fell into financial difficulties, Metromedia was close to completing a US$110m investment in Ireland, consisting of a US$75m data centre and a US$45m fibre ring that stretched for 100km around Dublin City.

The facilities will now be exclusively managed and operated by HP Services in Ireland. The opening of the data centre and fibre optic ring consolidates HP Services’ position as the largest IT services company in Ireland, according to HP Services Ireland’s director, Tom Carson, who added that the new facilities will increase HP’s ability to provide outsourcing solutions to Irish and pan-European firms.

HP Ireland’s country manager, Martin Murphy, said that the new data centre and fibre network will enable the company to offer utility solutions such as storage on demand and computing on demand to its Irish customer base.

HP’s leasing of the assets of Metromedia’s Irish operations comes as one solution to the great Irish data centre massacre of recent years that has caused massive embarrassment amongst government and IDA officials. Three years ago 22 companies invested €500m in constructing data centres. Today, fewer than six are still in business.

Metromedia shut its Irish operations last year following major financial setbacks at its parent company, led by serious losses and failure to secure funding.

Problems for the local management began when Microsoft decided to host its ambitious .Net project at an Eircom data centre rather than with Metromedia as originally announced.

HP’s Tom Carson told siliconrepublic.com that while HP was happy to lease the data centre, he would not rule out the possibility of the company acquiring the facilities if the market for data centre services improves in the coming year: “Basically, I would expect that when the data centre and network are fully operational the business and ancillary services could employ over 100 people.”

Carson, who has been working on the project for the past year, said that the overall market for managed services solutions has moved on in terms of its attitude to such services, viewing them as an absolute rather than a nice-to-have. “The cost to the user base is much more attractive now, whereas five years ago the data centre sector was so hugely over-invested that the market couldn’t sustain the centres. Bringing that confidence level back has led to HP underwriting the leasing of such operations. Our strategic plan is to also target the European market from here,” he said.

“The concept of ownership is not important to us right now, but underwriting the solution set is. But if some time down the road the market seemed right for it, we would certainly consider acquiring the facility,” Carson concluded.

Pictured: Martin Murphy and Tom Carson of HP Ireland

By John Kennedy