Digital Realty opens fifth Irish data centre

Valerie Walsh, Digital Realty, and former Taoiseach, John Bruton, pictured at the launch of Digital Realty’s new data centre in Profile Park, Grangecastle, Co. Dublin

New facility opened as research shows nearly half of IT decision makers feel optimistic for tech sector growth in Ireland



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9 May 2019 | 0

Digital Realty, the data centre, colocation and interconnection solution provider, has opened a second data centre on its Profile Park campus in Dublin.

As its fifth centre in Ireland, the five-megawatt expansion will give provide additional growth capacity and product flexibility with cooling, connectivity, security, system redundancy and power.

The company’s Clonshaugh facility is also set for further development later this year.




This follows research recently carried out by the company that found 47% of 250 senior Irish IT decision makers feel optimistic about the growth of the tech sector in Ireland.

Also, 56% predict that Brexit will have the most significant impact on the sector over the next five years, followed by GDPR (36%), and 5G roll out (23%).

Respondents identified tax on bonuses (40%), housing shortage (36%) and lack of funding for tech start-ups (32%) as barriers to growth.

Val Walsh, senior vice president of portfolio, Digital Realty said: “Our new investment in Profile Park and ongoing investment in Ireland highlights our confidence that the technology sector in the region will continue to grow. Our research shows that decision makers in the sector share this optimism and expect the market to flourish in the coming decade.”

Data opportunity
To mark the opening of the new facility, Digital Realty assembled a panel to discuss the data opportunity for Ireland, and the world.

Jeff Tapley, MD, EMEA, Digital Realty, in introducing the panel, said the new facility means that the company now has a more than €200 million investment in Dublin, which research shows contributes around €500 million to the economy.

The panel was moderated by Conor Brophy, director, strategic communications, Teneo, and featured former Taoiseach John Bruton, Michael Phelan, 2018 data scientist of the year, and business technology leader, data science, Johnson & Johnson, Val Walsh, Digital Realty, and Simon McGarr, privacy advocate and lawyer.

Walsh said data is exploding, with everyone creating data, and the challenge now for businesses is to try and derive value from their data. 

She gave the example of the Luas. A tram running out from city centre could potentially collect a lot of data, such as who is using it, when, for how long, and which stations were busy. Walsh said that this could be used to determine what type of businesses are in demand and where they could be best sited along the lines.

Data volume
Brophy highlighted the data volume is an issue, which Phelan illustrated. Phelan cited an annual report from DOMO, entitled “Data Never Sleeps”. He said it reported that on average, last year, every day 2.5 Quintilian bytes of data was generated — a figure with 18 zeros. 

By 2020, 1.7 MB of data will be generated every second for every human on the planet, he said. Even though not every human on the planet generates data, it indicates that some people are data intensive. 

What are we going to do with all that data? Phelan asked.

“Data science is about turning data in actionable insights. That is the biggest challenge we have, what are we going to do with it, what questions do we want answered,” said Phelan.

Regulatory lead
Former Taoiseach, Bruton said that, generally, we are in a good position as regards data processing and its regulation.

“I think the European Union is actually in the lead in the world in the matter of regulating the use of data. There are signs that the United States is probably going to imitate what we have done here. That is good, and it is good for us, as part of the EU, that we’re in the lead in setting the standards, rather than have them set in Beijing or even in Washington.” 

“Obviously, a phenomenon like Brexit is going to affect this as well, because we have free exchange of data with the UK as it is a member of the EU, but once the UK leaves, will there systems be accepted by the EU as adequate, in terms of the protection because we don’t know what way regulation will develop in the UK. Brexit is not a destination, it is the beginning of a divergence,” said Bruton.

At the moment that issue of data adequacy in the UK has not yet been settled in the negotiation, he warned.

Bruton emphasised that the commercial dimension, was only one opportunity around the data issue.

“Looking at it from a political dimension,” said Bruton, “it is important that data be used, and used constructively, not just for commercial purposes but also for social beneficial purposes. We are facing a problem of a rapidly aging population all over Europe, including Ireland, will we be able to use data to prolong people’s active lives, to make interventions that are helpful, not just in a commercial, but in a human sense. Making sure that balance is struck is something we are going to have to think about.”

The right questions
A question to the panel highlighted an issue raised in the discussion about asking the right questions of the data to turn it into actionable insights, and with whom the onus lay to lead.

Phelan was unequivocal on the matter.

He said that with access to the technologies to handle, prepare and interrogate data easier than ever, the onus lay with the data professionals.

Before we go down the road of tech, we need to work with the business to say what are your priorities, what are you trying to achieve, said Phelan.

“The onus is probably on the data professionals, because a good data professional should understand the business requirements, where the business is at, understand where the company is going and understand data and be able to bridge that gap. It is no longer enough to say that is the business’ problem, because if you create that silo mentality, all you have is verticals that don’t talk to each other and you can never achieve what data science can bring.” 

“I am firm believer that data science can achieve phenomenal things in partnership. Data science on its own is just another field of study,” said Phelan

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