Park Place to expand to meet data centre demand

Benefitting from the pandemic and demand for data, Park Place speak about their expansion plans
Park Place to expand to meet data centre demand

Jennifer Deutsch, Park Place Technologies with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Nicola Buckley, Senior VP Park Place at an iWish event. Picture: Clare Keogh

Global tech firm Park Place Technologies is planning a significant increase in its operations centre in Cork in response to the continued growth of data centres both in Ireland and globally.

The firm currently employs 35 people in the city centre with plans to move to larger premises in the coming months and increasing its headcount to 100 over the next 12 to 18 months.

Park Place established its EMEA operations centre in Cork two years ago with the support of the IDA and has expanded steadily since then. The company supports and maintains data centres and has seen a significant increase in demand for its products and services since the onset of the pandemic.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, the company's' Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Deutsch said they only see their presence in Cork expanding in the future.

"Two years ago, when we opened our support centre we started out with two people. Today we are at 35 and expect to have 100 employees in the next 12 to 18 months," she said.

"In the facility, we speak ten different languages with people from all over the globe. We now support 154 countries from Cork and our customer count in Ireland is growing significantly. When we first came here we had 94 customers. Today we have 139 Irish customers. That is significant growth. Across the globe, we have 21,500 customers and have more room for growth."

The company recently acquired IT support firm Curvature which Ms Deutsch said has doubled the size of the company.

"Curvature brought 4,300 new customers and doubled our spare parts facility and spare parts locations that will further drive efficiencies. We now have 2,300 employees worldwide and Park Place now supports 90% of the Fortune 500 customers," she said.

She said Park Place's DMSO (discover, monitor, support, optimize) service has come into its own and driven more business during the pandemic allowing them to monitor and maintain issues at data centres ensuring companies avoid any downtime. "If your data centre is down and you are Visa, and you can't process transactions it is literally hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute that downtime can cost you which highlights the importance or identifying issues and addressing them before they occur."

She said they did not expect a reduction in business if there is a large scale return to location and office-based working.

"I think our portfolio is very solid. It helps spread and eliminate any risk and our business was very very solid through the pandemic and we expect that to continue."

Ms Deutsch said Cork was always on top of their list as their preferred location and heaped praise on the IDA saying the assistance they were offered stands in stark contrast to other global tech hubs.

"On top of that the quality of life is excellent, the cost of living is excellent. The IDA was incredibly helpful and continues to be helpful. We identified Ireland and specifically Cork. While other locations were in the running we specifically chose here."

Despite being relative newcomers to Cork, Park Place has moved quickly to immerse itself in the community establishing firm links with UCC and CIT. Park Place staff also volunteer with CoderDojo teaching children and teenagers how to code. They also ran internship competitions with iWish to encourage more women to enter the STEM fields.

Ms Deutsch said the expansion of data centres will continue given the growth in new and expanding sectors such as 5G, gaming, cloud services and the 'internet of things'. 

"People locating data centres want access and supply of good quality, competitively priced electricity, preferably from renewable sources, they want good environmental conditions so low risk of extreme weather and the cooler climates are beneficial because of the heat generated by the facilities. They also need a strong connection to internet networks and proximity to major markets. If those are your criteria then Ireland is perfect."

"Dublin has overtaken Paris as one of the top four European data centre hubs."

She acknowledged the growing concern about the level of energy required to operate data centres. "3% of all the electricity produced across the globe is to support data centres. In Ireland, data centres will account for 31% of Ireland's total energy demand by 2027. But we can see that organisations like Google are investing in their own renewable resources to address these challenges," she said.

"When first came to Cork we had 4,000 sq ft. We are now looking to move into 13,000 sq ft. We are talking with JCD about moving to a separate building. As we increase our sales teams we need to have engineers and good customer supports and that benefits Cork," she said.

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