Friday 28 October 2016

Amazon to take Ireland spend past €1bn with new data centre

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Amazon, which has a global presence, needs data centres to keep services operating. Photo: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg
Amazon, which has a global presence, needs data centres to keep services operating. Photo: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Internet retail giant Amazon is planning yet another massive data centre in Dublin in a move that could propel its expected total capital expenditure on such projects here to as much as €1bn, the Irish Independent understands.

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This newspaper recently revealed that Amazon is already planning to build another huge data centre at a site in Blanchardstown in Dublin. That's expected to cost as much as €200m to build.

But now Amazon is also planning the construction of another large data centre on a huge site close to Dublin Airport, at the Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park.

The site was formerly home to GE Superabrasives. The former GE factory and associated offices extends over 18,441 sq m, or almost 200,000 sq ft, on a total site of 9.3 hectares.

GE put the site up for sale at the end of 2013 with a €5m price tag.

Amazon already operates a data centre at the Clonshaugh park at a leased premises that's owned by Digital Realty Trust.

It's believed that some preparatory site work is already under way at the former GE Superabrasives site.

It will undoubtedly be one of the biggest data centre sites the US firm has in Ireland. The country has been experiencing a boom in data centre construction thanks in part to its temperate climate, which helps lower the cost of cooling the large buildings.

The computer servers running in these centres create a huge amount of heat, so companies are looking for relatively inexpensive ways of keeping them cool.

That has led to the likes of Ireland, Norway, and other countries that would not be renowned for their weather becoming the ideal location for these storage centres.

Privacy concerns in the US have also made European countries a favoured destination for these data centres.

Amazon is currently planning to build a data centre at the Blanchardstown Business and Technology Park, where it has had operations since 2010.

It already has two data centres there. The new data centre at the park will extend over 16,065 sq m.

In 2011, Amazon bought a former Tesco storage facility in south Dublin that's located on a 13-acre site, also to use as a data centre location.

While Amazon uses its data centres for its own operations, they're also used for its web services business, where offers data hosting to other companies. Its global clients include firms such as Airbnb, Unilever and Angry Birds maker Rovio.

Last November, Amazon announced that it plans to hire 300 more people in Dublin. It already has 1,400 employees in Ireland. It has a significant presence in Cork, where over 800 people are employed by the group in customer and seller support roles.

Amazon reckons that since it first arrived in Ireland in 2004, it has invested over €1.5bn in the local economy.

Multinationals including Google and Microsoft also have major data centre operations in Ireland, while both Facebook and Apple are planning large-scale data centre sites here.

Ireland beat competition from 18 other countries to secure the Apple's planned €850m data centre. While one is currently being planned, the company has said that by 2031, eight buildings of almost 25,000sqm each could be in place to cater for the "rapid expansion" in wireless communications, entertainment and networking.

Irish Independent

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