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.