Ireland has a distinctive data centre market, characterised by a mix of third party data centres targeting burgeoning enterprise demand and massive investment by webscales, more so than any other country in Europe.
Active government support for inward investment by hyperscales from the US such as Amazon and Microsoft has resulted in the construction of massive facilities around Dublin. Apple too may yet be a new player subject to planning permissions. Even now authorities are seeking to identify potential land banks for new large scale data centre facilities in Ireland, which indicates that the supply of more space will continue to enter the market.
Ireland has also benefitted from investment by US enterprises from the gaming, pharmaceuticals and content sectors making the country their European headquarters.
The overriding attraction of Ireland is due to its status in the EU and low tax rates, with data centre investment across a range of business models, including Digital Realty with build and provide capacity. It has become the main hub for webscales regionally.
Connectivity is supported by a range of international cable capacity, with the first direct submarine cable system from Ireland to France (bypassing the UK) due to be launched from Q3 2019. The country also has a high installed base of fibre and dark fibre with further deployment planned.
Although currently the seventh largest market by third party m2 space in Europe, the presence of webscales mainly in the Dublin area makes a strong argument for the city to be re-classified as a Tier 1 hub alongside London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.
In addition, research for the report finds that should all current investment plans for additional third party space come to fruition growth would equate to approximately 74% by the end of 2020 with substantial investment.
In terms of power, EirGrid believes that potential data centre power capacity could increase to 1,000 MW after 2019 (this report forecasts a total of 882 MW). Renewable energy generation – primarily wind energy - is a key government priority and is targeting 40% by 2020 well beyond the EU mandatory benchmark of 16%.
For the future there remains a need to provide additional cable submarine capacity in order to provide additional transatlantic resilience to North America and also new cable systems to mainland Europe. New investment in wind power technology aims to boost Ireland’s energy dependence using low carbon energy sources.
The report contains forecasts for m2 and MW through to the end of 2020 for third party data centres and for webscales.