TechBeat: A nation of hosts
Ireland is now well known as a data centre destination, with Facebook breaking ground on a major facility in Clonee, county Meath in April. Apple’s facility in Athenry is still in the planning stage, battling objections over wild life, forestry and traffic congestion, though none of which seem to be showstoppers.
However, the use of data centres for hosting data here by indigenous organisations and foreign direct investment (FDI) companies is a changing landscape influenced by various factors, from climate to costs, security and data protection.
TechBeat, in association with Equinix, surveyed 139 Irish IT professionals to quantify trends and attitudes, following up from previous surveys conducted in association with Telecity, an Equinix company. At its official launch event in Dublin in June, Equinix presented the survey results, as the Irish operation took its place within the global group.
The respondents were asked first about the nature of their organisation. The vast majority were Irish organisations (93%) as opposed to FDI companies (7%). In terms of size, there was a fairly even spread, with 30% in the 1000+ employee range. In the 500-1000 range were 10%, with 15% each in the 50-100 and 100-500 range. In smaller organisations there was 30% in the 1 to 50 range.
Of those organisations, 19% host their data primarily in a data centre, with 30% primarily on-premises with the remaining half (51%) indicating a mix of both on-premises and data centre hosting. These figures are significantly different from the previous year when 31% specified a data centre, 38% said on-premises and 31% said a mix of both.
Of the 19% that specified data centre hosting, there were three clear leaders in terms of reasons for that choice. Increased security was listed as a top three option by more than half (51%), followed by guaranteed uptime (50%) and the ability to expand when needed (49%). Some way behind these were reliable connectivity (36%) 24/7 data centre team (30%) and data protection (26%). These top three choice were the same as last year, though guaranteed uptime was top then at 59%, followed by ability to expand (47%) and increased security (42%).
The survey asked whether recent announcements from the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon to site data centres here had influenced considerations on how to host data. Overall, almost three quarters (74%) said yes, versus 26% who said no. Breaking down the results, to look exclusively at the FDI responses, and that figure climbs to nine out of 10.
“The increased volume of multinational customers choosing to host their data here is a positive indicator of our burgeoning reputation as a global data centre and digital hub,” said Maurice Mortell, managing director, Ireland and Emerging Markets, Equinix.
“Ireland is effectively a gateway to a European market of more than 500 million people. Our physical location and quality of transatlantic connectivity gives us many natural advantages. Recently, large brands have started to consolidate multiple global data centres into fewer ‘mega data centres’ that serve a particular region, such as Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the Pacific Rim, West Coast US or East Coast US. This ensures ability to scale and provide fastest speeds within geographical markets.”
With regard to connectivity, the survey asked about reliance on fast, low latency connection with various locations. Nearly half (43%) indicated reliance on connectivity to Europe, followed by the UK (36%), the US (14%), the Middle East (4%) and Asia (3%). This has changed significantly since last year when the UK was top (74%), followed by Europe (64%) and the US (36%).