US software giant Microsoft is to build another data centre in Dublin, in a project that's likely to propel its total spending on such infrastructure in Ireland to around €700m, the Irish Independent has learned.
Microsoft said it needs the new data centre because even its own predictions for internet usage have been eclipsed.
Extending over 7,600 sq m, which includes almost 1,600 sq m of office space, the data centre is likely to cost as much as €70m to build.
It will eventually employ 180 people full-time, with up to 300 workers involved in construction, which is expected to take 15 months.
The planned new centre is part of a data centre campus that Microsoft has been developing at the Grangecastle business park in Clondalkin, west Dublin.
"The increasing move of social and business life to the online or cloud world means the current facilities are approaching their capacity ahead of the most conservative predictions of five years ago," it said in planning documents.
Microsoft declined to confirm the new project, but the company has just sought planning permission from South Dublin County Council for the scheme.
Grangecastle is already home to three Microsoft data centres, while other firms such as Google also have sites there.
Microsoft is already developing the first phase of a new data centre in Grangecastle and that project is due to be completed in September. It's already involved in detailed design and development planning for the second phase of that centre.
It said that the new centre for which it's now seeking permission will allow Microsoft to meet an "ever-growing worldwide demand for the services it offers over the internet".
The existing Microsoft data centre operation, built and extended at a toal cost of about €600m, hosts about 200 core products, such as Office365, its Bing search engine, as well as its cloud development platform, Azure. Microsoft is engaged in a global project to link all its data centres together using a sub-sea fibre network.
Global operators such as Amazon have chosen Ireland for their data centres because they can use the cool climate to lower temperatures inside the vast buildings as heat is churned out by electronic equipment.
Apple has also announced that it's going to spend €850m to build a huge data centre in Athenry, Co Galway.
Facebook is planning to spend as much as €200m on a data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.
Microsoft declined to comment on its latest plans for Grangecastle.
"As demand grows for our online and cloud services, Microsoft is anticipating growth in its cloud infrastructure and we are continuously exploring new potential data centre locations across the world as part of our regular business operations," said a spokeswoman.
"We have nothing to announce today regarding new facilities."