Data centre firm EdgeConnex turned down rural Ireland because of a lack of adequate power

The US company looked at other Irish locations but decided to double its Dublin operation.

By Jonathan Keane Reporter, Fora

US DATA CENTRE firm EdgeConnex considered building facilities outside of Dublin – but insufficient power and connectivity led it to doubling its presence in the capital instead.

Speaking to Fora, chief marketing officer Phillip Marangella said the company looked at other locations in Ireland but was deterred by a lack of access to adequate power and network connectivity.

Marangella said insufficient energy supply is “a big issue” in many European markets, adding that better facilities “will drive some of those alternative locations” outside the main data centre hotspots.

A government report in June advocated promoting more locations outside of Dublin as ideal hubs for data centres. Research from industry group Host in Ireland said that of the 46 data centres in Ireland, the majority are in Dublin.

Virginia-based EdgeConnex operates a data centre facility in Lucan and recently applied for planning permission to build two new data halls on the site.

It built a 4,500 sq m facility in 2016 and extended it to 6,000 sq m in 2017. The new development would double EdgeConnex’s operations in Lucan where Microsoft’s data centre is also located.

EdgeConnex’s facilities are described as so-called ‘edge data centres’ because they are located close to a customer’s clients.

It has 31 of these facilities across Europe and North America. The Irish facility is one of its larger operations alongside Amsterdam.

“We build edge data centres, two to four megawatts growing eight and 10 megawatts and so forth.

“It’s what we do in the US and many markets. In Dublin, and in Amsterdam, these are larger, 10 to 20 megawatt facilities,” Marangella said.

Planning disputes

The government is introducing new regulations to help fast track data centre planning processes to make Ireland more attractive for the industry and avoid a repeat of Apple’s ditched development in Athenry.

Marangella said he wasn’t familiar with Ireland’s proposed changes to planning laws but said complaints and opposition to developments are common in the industry.

“The customer is aware of that. They have to decide, do I go to Dublin or do I go to some other market?” he said.

“If Dublin wants to attract more data centres then it needs to work and figure out how to make it as easy as possible to build and grow what is already being established as a significant data centre hub.”

This week Amazon met complaints that its new South Dublin data centre could interfere with nearby housing developments because of the noise it may generate.

“We haven’t come across that (noise complaints),” Marangella said. “I live in Ashburn (Virginia) and there are data centres all over. I have two hyperscale Google data centres built half a mile away and having worked in them, these things aren’t that loud.”

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