Ireland: powering connectivity for businesses

Maurice Mortell, Equinix
Maurice Mortell, Equinix

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12 December 2016 | 0

We may be small, but Ireland’s digital footprint is enormous — and the world’s multinationals want a piece of it. That was the conclusion of a recent William Fry report, “Europe for Big Data”. By surveying 200 senior business executives from across the world, William Fry found that Ireland is the second-favourite country in Europe for data-driven investment.

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It is something we in Equinix Ireland have been seeing for some time. As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, businesses are looking at how they can use IT to benefit their organisation. On-premises hosting arrangements can no longer handle the surge of data that companies are creating. These organisations look to data centre service providers for more than just an alternative hosting solution — they need a business partner that will help them spearhead their IT strategy and provide access to larger markets. Companies at home and abroad are flocking to Ireland to achieve that. But what makes the country such a favourable place for hosting data?

Why Ireland?
Ireland has been laying the foundations to become a world digital hub for over 60 years, ever since IBM opened offices here in 1956. Since then, we have been continuously ramping up our prowess as a world leader in software and technology production. Bolstering that is the great work of IDA Ireland, which, from the early 2000s, has been putting Ireland on the map as a unique and ideal location in Europe for data hosting.

With such a strong history, IT has become embedded in Ireland’s DNA and as a result, we offer what Host in Ireland refers to as the all-important Five Ps: policies, pedigree, people, power and pipes. Our offering is so attractive that Ireland is now ranked 11th globally for technological readiness by the World Economic Forum, with technology products counting for almost 20% of our exports. In addition to that, 96% of respondents in the William Fry study said that they have a favourable view of Ireland as a data-related investment location. A further 86% said a data-driven Irish investment is either likely or possible in the next year.

“We have found that increasing awareness of data privacy and sovereignty is also encouraging businesses to host their data here”

From our own research in Equinix, we have found that increasing awareness of data privacy and sovereignty is also encouraging businesses to host their data here. We found that data protection is now among the leading reasons why businesses choose to host in Ireland. Some 40% of respondents said data protection features in their top three drivers to host here. That is followed by proximity to their business (37%) and data sovereignty (30%).

Helping to support and continue our reputation is the huge investment that has been made in global fibre networks in recent years. Ireland is now extremely well connected to the rest of the world with high-speed low latency connections to the US, UK and Europe. Currently, direct undersea cables run to New York and the UK. Soon, we will also have direct sub-sea cables to the European mainland. That connectivity enables businesses hosting here to do an awful lot more. As we continue to witness an eruption of data, driven by the growth of cloud and the Internet of Things, those networks satisfy the ever-growing need for speed.

To make the most of this rich connectivity, businesses need fast, secure access to multiple cloud providers through interconnection. In Ireland, we are a globally-recognised hub for the hybrid cloud. All of the world’s top three cloud providers — Microsoft, Amazon and Google — have operations here, providing enterprises with a mass of opportunity. We at Equinix commissioned a survey this year that found announcements from such hyperscales makes businesses 74% more likely to host their digital assets here.

With such digital potential, companies must make sure that they have the right architecture in place to support the growth of data and the analytics capabilities it presents. At Equinix, we ensure businesses are getting the fastest connections in the most secure way possible through edge computing. Our Interconnection Oriented Architecture (IOA) puts IT resources close to the users and data, enabling real-time analytics to capture new revenue opportunities.

Maurice Mortell, managing director for Ireland and emerging markets, Equinix

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