Wednesday 13 November 2019

Yahoo and Equinix next in line to build data centres

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (centre) with Ken Goldman CFO, Yahoo! (left) and Patrick Scully, MD of Yahoo EMEA operations, at the official opening of Yahoo EMEA's new offices in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny (centre) with Ken Goldman CFO, Yahoo! (left) and Patrick Scully, MD of Yahoo EMEA operations, at the official opening of Yahoo EMEA's new offices in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Sarah McCabe

Yahoo will be the next global giant to buy or build a data centre in Dublin, as a host of multinationals plan new data centres for Ireland.

Pat Scully, the managing director of Yahoo EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), said the company is currently considering buying or building a facility here.

The internet search company, which this week opened a new office at the Point Village in Dublin, already leases a data centre in Dublin.

The data centre industry is on the cusp of an explosion, experts say.

Documents seen by the Sunday Independent reveal that companies have applied to more than treble Ireland's existing data centre capacity within three years.

Ireland currently has 210 MVA worth of data centres connected to the electricity grid. But more than 700MVA is in the queue to connect within three years, according to applications submitted to electricity transmission system manager Eirgrid.

Earlier this month Apple announced plans for an €850m data centre in Athenry in Galway.

Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google and BT all have large data centre operations in Ireland.

Amazon is implementing a large expansion of several of its seven Irish data centre facilities. Sources in the wind energy sector say it intends to power several of these with wind turbines, similar to Apple's plans for the Athenry site

EMC is also understood to be building a large data centre in Ovens in Co Cork. Major Irish renewable companies and wind farm operators are said to be in discussions with multinationals about providing green energy to power their operations. Scandinavian furniture giant IKEA bought two wind farms from Eddie O'Connor's Mainstream renewables to help power its Irish and Canadian businesses.

A lobby group for the wind energy sector expects "several" large US multinationals with operations here to announce major investments in windfarm-powered data centres in Ireland over the coming months, following Apple's recent announcement of an €850m facility in Galway.

The majority of Ireland's data centres are located in Dublin where the electricity transmission system is strongest. But Eirgrid and the IDA have identified several sites outside of the capital as potential data centre hubs.

As well as multinationals, data centre operators such as London-based TeleCityGroup, US group Digital Realty and Irish company DataPlex all have major facilities in Ireland.

Another US data centre provider, Equinix, is understood to be in talks to build an Irish facility.

Ireland is a popular location for data centres because of its cool climate. The lowered temperature means companies don't need quite as much mechanical refrigeration equipment to keep the machines from overheating.

Data centres are where tech companies store data - such as photos or videos - housed in the cloud. They require excellent internet connectivity as well as a large physical footprint and a significant energy supply.

Apple's new centre will require 358 megawatts - enough to power more than 230,000 homes. The global technology giant said that it intends to power the centre wholly through renewable energies.

Sunday Indo Business

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