On Friday, October 9th, Cork City Council, with the support of CorkBIC, IDA and Cork Chamber of Commerce, hosted a think-tank event in the Clarion Hotel Cork, showcasing Cork’s potential as a prime location for data storage and datacentre development.
Ireland already has the highest number of datacentres per capita of any European country and is set to expand this number rapidly in the near future. Ireland’s unique location, stable government and favourable climate, coupled with a rapidly growing IT sector, give it a unique advantage in this sector; and Ireland is poised for a period of substantial growth in new datacentres, which are needed to supply the exponential growth in demand for secure and eco-friendly datacentre space.
The recent landing in Cork of the first trans-Atlantic optical-fibre cable in 12 years in has heralded a new dawn for the Cork region as a location for Eco datacentres. The new cable, along with additional cables planned for the near future, will cement Cork as a favoured location outside of Dublin, allowing it to directly access both Europe and the US. The new connection provides direct, very high speed access to New York and London, the largest financial capitals in the world, making Cork an ideal location for an Eco datacentre serving both markets.
Speaking about Cork’s potential, Simon Coveney, T.D. Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, who opened the event said “Over the past five years, several reports commissioned by Cork City Council have shown that Cork is an ideal location for the development of a Cork Eco-friendly Enterprise level Datacentre (CEDC), which would have significant beneficial effects for the local IT sector and the local economy, with 100 full time jobs and up to 500 indirect jobs, and an annual contribution of over €29m to the local economy. The local infrastructure landscape has been examined and determined to be suitable to support a CEDC on a currently vacant site in Lough Mahon owned by Cork City Council, who have indicated a willingness to work with third parties to support its development.”
Cork has also established itself as a leading Cloud-City with a high-speed data network connecting all of the major commercial and academic locations. In addition, many Cloud-IT companies are already located in Cork including EMC2, Amazon, Apple and McAfee (Intel Security), while Cork is also home to it@cork, the largest IT organisation in the country with over 200 members.
Speaking about the everyday applications of datacentres, Ronan Murphy, Chairman of it@cork said “Datacentres play a vital role in the delivery of every day services that we take for granted. When we purchase a train ticket, send an email or a text message or access any website online, all of these data services are hosted in a data centre. The number of datacentres is growing globally at an increasing rate, as more and more daily services are accessed online, with the market set to double in size to $50 billion from 2014 to 2020.”
Speaking about datacentre development in Ireland, Clem McLoughlin, Business Development Manager, IDA Ireland stated “An increasing realisation amongst datacentre operators is the cost savings achievable via “free air cooling”, i.e. locating datacentres in locations that have cooler climates, such as Ireland. Already, Microsoft has proven that an Irish-based datacentre can become one of the most efficient in the world. Their 550,000 sq. ft. datacentre in Sandyford, Dublin, ranks as the 6th largest in the world and also ranks in the top 5 most efficient in terms of overall electrical consumption per square foot.”
Outlining the aim of Friday’s event, Ann Doherty, Chief Executive, Cork City Council said “We wanted to start a conversation, gather interested people together, and to inform them that Cork City Council is now proactively looking to support the development of an Eco datacentre in Cork in order to ensure that Cork can continue to competitively compete on a global scale. The intention is that in the coming weeks we will issue a call for formal expressions of interest for the development, management and/ or operation of this Eco datacentre in Cork.”
Further information and updates on the development of Cork’s Eco datacentre can be found at http://www.corkcity.ie/services/strategicplanningeconomicdevelopment/economicdevelopment/
Mr. Pat Ledwidge, Director of Services Strategic Planning & Economic Development, Cork City Council, Cllr. Mick Nugent, Deputy Lord Mayor, Cork City Council, Minister Simon Coveney T.D., Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr. Clem McLoughlin, IDA, Mr. Conor Healy, Cork Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Michael O’Connor, Cork BIC and Mr. Mark O’Sullivan, Cork BIC.