Previously London was the biggest European data centre market in terms of occupied capacity followed by Frankfurt and Amsterdam, but recently it was overtaken by Dublin which is now the data centre and cloud capital of all of Europe. Ireland is now home to around 50 data hosting centres and is quickly becoming the country of choice for IT services companies, attracting huge names such as Google, Amazon and Facebook.
This can be attributed to a few different reasons, including the land that is available for centres to be built, the supply of skilled tech workers in the labour market and having one of the lowest corporation tax rates in the EU at 12.5%. Not only this, but Dublin is well-connected to the US and Europe so it is perfectly positioned as a bridge between the two.
All of this, of course, benefits the Irish economy greatly and it is estimated that data centre-related investment will eclipse €9 billion by 2021 and the facilities in Ireland will double in the next 5 years. While there are certainly many benefits to Dublin becoming the data centre capital of Europe, there are also a number of major challenges that data companies will face in Ireland as a result of this.
Anywhere that there are data centres there will be questions about data security, ethics and legality in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, plus there are also concerns about the energy consumption that is required to run these centres in a country that is struggling to meet its climate change targets. On top of all this, many data companies struggle when it comes to financial reporting, transactions and constantly changing regulations so it is clear that there are many challenges facing the increasing number of data companies in Dublin and Ireland.
How to Overcome These Challenges
So, how can these companies overcome these various challenges? Cybersecurity is obviously an important part of data protection and will be key for protecting against the digital threats, but it is also important that corporate training programs in Big Data are used to educate staff on how they can keep this data kept private and secure at all times.
In terms of energy consumption, Facebook has a facility that is powered by entirely renewable energy while Amazon reuse the heat generated by the data centre to reheat homes and offices in the Tallaght region so business will need to follow their lead and find ways to be environmentally friendly.
Elsewhere, financial reporting, accounting support and planning performance strategy will be key. Experts like RSM can provide consulting services to help data companies in Ireland with finance and accounting so that they can overcome these common business challenges and get the company in good financial health for long-term success.
Dublin has quickly become the data centre capital of Europe and this brings many benefits to the city and entire nation of Ireland. It also brings with it a few key challenges that any data company will need to overcome, but if they are able to do this then they can find great success in the new capital.