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This research has been carried out by Bitpower on behalf of Host in Ireland to examine the opportunities and risks associated with the digital asset hosting industry in Ireland.
With $71 Billion of ICT Services exported in 2016, Ireland clearly has a thriving digital economy. It boasts the biggest names in the tech industry. Dublin is now the envy of many of its European counterparts in terms of the reach of its data hosting ecosystem.
Over the course of the last six decades, the planet is moving at a pace not seen previously to the “always-on”, digital world we know today. Ireland (Dublin) has evolved to be ranked as a Tier 1 hosting location due to the evolution of its status as the "Digital Gateway to Europe" for US companies. This started with the IBM mainframe computer in 1950's and now continues with cloud, colocation, and managed service providers.
This success is not without its challenges. How will sustainability and energy use be kept in check? What about planning? What benefits does the industry bring to Ireland? These questions appear in media reports daily and have stirred a lot of debate in 2017.
Today’s data centres are designed and operated to be much more efficient than previous generations. Energy accounts for up to 50% of operating costs post-construction, so there is a constant drive to reduce energy consumption.
This report attempts to establish a baseline in terms of the sustainability of the data industry. We address the scale of energy use and its growth, and explore options for better integration with the energy system. We have mapped the location of the leading data centres in Ireland. We look at the different types of data hosting, and how their business models differ in terms of sustainability reporting. We address energy efficiency and best practice in data centre design and operations.
By providing the most timely and accurate update on data centre activity in the Irish market, we believe that this baseline will act as a useful reference for policymakers. This will be beneficial to Ireland as we look to continue our leadership in the creation, retention and exporting of digital products for the long term.
It is important to acknowledge that in Ireland today the supply challenges in the Data Hosting Industry are as a direct consequence of the pent-up demand for the Irish Hosting product. The recent proposal by the Irish Government to include data centres as part of the Strategic Infrastructure Act may provide clarity. If it can provide time-certainty on planning applications and state-driven clarity on energy supply it will be of great benefit to Ireland in retaining and attracting new data hosting opportunities.
This report has been part-funded by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland under SEAI’s Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration (RD&D) Fund 2017. I would like to thank SEAI for supporting this important research, and I look forward to engaging further with the energy policy system in Ireland.
President & Founder - Host in Ireland