Ireland: It’s Cold. It’s Damp. It’s Perfect.

Ireland: It’s Cold. It’s Damp. It’s Perfect.

Summary: It might have made the Roman Empire take a step back, but the climate of Ireland appeals to the datacenter industry.

TOPICS: Data Centers

Like many Americans of a certain age, my view of Ireland started off as the green, verdant countryside across which John Wayne chased Maureen O’Hara and had a bare knuckles brawl with Victor McLaglen in the John Ford film, The Quiet Man. As we approached the end of the last century that view morphed into the home of many call centers opened by American corporations, attracted by the population of well-educated English-speaking natives and attractive corporate tax incentives.  And like many first time visitors, the impression became one of a location that was often chilly and damp, even in the middle of summer.



But to a new influx of large corporations, led by Google, the view of Ireland has become that cold, damp place that makes for an excellent green location for datacenters. The consistent cool temperatures  (mean temperatures throughout the country average around 50 degrees F) without significant extremes in either direction mean that large datacenters are able to depend on free air cooling based technologies to allow significant savings on the power usually needed to maintain the datacenter IT environment.

According to a report in the Guardian, Google, who already had their European headquarters in Dublin, spent $75 million to add a datacenter next door, having decided that the climate made it an ideal choice for a green facility that could take advantage of the generally cool weather. And, of course, where Google goes, other high tech companies are soon to follow, with Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and HP among the companies that have setup shop in the same region. There’s even an Amazon cloud datacenter in Dublin, too. To be fair, it was really Microsoft who was their first, and they have continued to invest in their datacenter presence in Ireland, to the tune of half a billion dollars.

Despite these investments Ireland has not found itself immune from the economic issues facing the world at large. But in seeing the potential in the monies being spent by by tech companies, the country recently invested of $6.6 million in a cloud research facility established at the University of Dublin. The goal of this research is to keep Ireland at the forefront of cloud technology investments by maintaining a high-profile in computer technology development.

Topic: Data Centers

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  • What about the tax breaks

    I think you should also take into account the tax breaks the Irish government often provides to high-tech industrial players - and which is likely to be a major influence on datacentre siting decisions..
    Manek Dubash
    • I am from Ireland and I like to call it "cloudy" computing

      .. given so little sunshine here! ;-)
      Alan Lawlor
  • Yeah, but what they save on cooling...

    ...they must loose on dehumidifying. What's the dewpoint in all those datacenters?
    • Total costs are relative

      Mean relative humidity for an average year is recorded as 83.0%. Cooling the air is much more expensive than dehumidifying.
      David Chernicoff
  • Cost of labor too?

    Or is that "labour?" I often see Ireland bandied about in the same breath with India and China as countries with abundant, dirt-cheap IT workforce. If they just wanted cold and damp, they could just as easily build these things in places like Marquette, MI, Duluth MN, or Anchorage, AK.
    • Ireland has a good, eductated local workforce

      As the article says. So while datacenters are not large employers, there would be little need to import the staff.

      And Minnesota is trying really hard to win datacenter contracts.
      David Chernicoff
      • educated, even ;)

        David Chernicoff
    • Alaska wouldn't be a bad place for data centers

      ...especially along the Pacific coast, but my impression is that the cost of living is relatively high due to the lack of arable land (but maybe someone with some experience can comment).
      John L. Ries
  • Microsoft there first.... not true

    Granted I don't know when Microsoft showed up in Ireland, but as a retired IBMer who spent two years at the Dublin research lab in 1972-3, I can assure you that I never saw any signs of Microsoft....
    • If I recall correctly

      IBM didn't open a full scale datacenter in Ireland until 2008/2009. I was speaking specifically to that.

      If I am in error on that I'll concede the point.
      David Chernicoff
      • David I knew what you were alluding to....

        just wanted to throw some support at IBM, imho the most innovative company on the planet. If I remember correctly IBM opened a sales office in Dublin back in the late 50's. That morphed into a small research lab in the late 60's. My wife and I went back to Ireland about ten years ago on vacation and I was really amazed at the growth of tech at that time.
  • choice of words

    "And, of course, where Google goes, other high tech companies are soon to follow, with Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and HP among the companies that have setup shop in the same region."

    - Only fans consider google as a leader in technology. Microsoft has a huge data centre in Ireland. So why not put it everybody else followed Microsoft. I know you have made that point in the article... but just saying.... Google is involved in lot of dirty business, but other high tech companies with dignity would not follow anything they do.
    • A bad case of amnesia?

      Or just plain and perhaps stupid dishonesty?

      The list of unethical as well as illegal conduct by MS is just to long to detail. The "dignity" is an illusion in your mind only.
    • Of course...'s easy enough to simply call anyone who might accuse Google of being a "leader in technology" a fan. But Google does legitimately lead in a number of technical fields, including the one with which they have most long been associated: web searching.
      John L. Ries
      • google is a big ZERO in technology.

        Google is not who invented or started web search, remember Alta vista or Yahoo? Google got a lucky break in search and twice lucky when they torpedoed Apple with Android, when that idiot named E. Schmidt was sitting in Apple Board.
        • They didn't invent it...

          ...but they improved it tremendously (can't really say that about MS).
          The old line search engines are mostly still around (even Alta Vista), but they're not what most people use.

          How else do you think Google became the dominant search engine in such a hurry?
          John L. Ries
  • Minus the data

    "with Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and HP among the companies that have setup shop in the same region." I know they are the ones with datacenters but i just thought i should add that Apple, Dell, Ebay, Oracle, PayPal all have their european HQ in Ireland as well. Intel also have the largest manufacturing plant outside america. There is a dirt load more but ah well
  • the Quiet Man

    Still one of my favorites, always will be......