Ireland the best place to set up a data center in the EU

Connectivity, low taxes, government support and good beer—well, the last part is debatable

Ireland the best place to set up a data center in the EU
By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A report from a data center consulting group BroadGroup says Ireland is the best place, at least in Europe, to set up a data center. It cites connectivity, taxes and active government support among the reasons.

BroadGroup’s report argued Ireland’s status in the EU, as well as its “low corporate tax environment,” make it an attractive location. It also cites connectivity, as Ireland will get a direct submarine cable system from Ireland to France—bypassing the U.K.—in 2019. The country also has a high installed base of fibre and dark fibre with further deployment planned.

The report also notes active government support for inward investment from companies such as Amazon and Microsoft has resulted in the construction of massive facilities around Dublin.

“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,” the report says.

U.S. companies with data centers in Ireland

Amazon and Microsoft both have facilities in Dublin, with Microsoft’s being one of the largest in Europe. Now, Apple is looking to build a €850 million data center in Athenry, outside Dublin. It announced the plans two years ago, along with a sister location in Denmark.

Two years later, the Danish site is up and running, while Athenry hasn’t even broken ground due to legal problems because three people objected. Then the decision has been held up because there aren’t enough judges to make a ruling. The ruling is expected to go in Apple’s favor.

Other factors favoring Ireland is that it has benefitted from investment by U.S. firms from the gaming, pharmaceuticals and content sectors making the country their European headquarters. Also, data center investment covers a wide range of business models, making it the main hub for webscales regionally.

Renewable energy is also one reason for Ireland’s shine. EirGrid says potential data center power capacity could increase to 1,000 MW after 2019. Renewable energy—primarily from wind energy—is a key government priority and is targeting 40 percent by 2020, well beyond the EU mandatory benchmark of 16 percent. The proposed Apple data center would be powered 100 percent by renewable energy.

Of course, Ireland isn’t alone with its data center ambitions. Scotland recently saw the opening of a 60,000-sq.-ft. data center that can be expanded to 500,000 square feet.

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