Cork event eyes ‘big data’ businesses

The new transatlantic cable arrives ashore at Garretstown, Co Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan

A major drive is under way to position Cork as the prime location outside Dublin for the location of multimillion-euro ‘big data’ storage centres.

Cork City Council will bring key business groups together for a think-tank event on Friday to ensure the region capitalises on new Tier 1 connectivity following its link to a new transatlantic high-speed internet cable, a spur of which was brought ashore in Cork in August.

Ireland is fast becoming a global centre of excellence for data storage business, with some of the biggest tech companies locating here.

Microsoft is expanding the data centre it opened in Dublin in 2009. Google, which opened a data centre in Profile Park, west Dublin, in 2012, is investing €150m in constructing a second data centre next door. It will be integral to Google’s core platforms, including YouTube, Google Maps, and Gmail.

Earlier this year, Apple revealed plans to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, powered by renewable energy.

Cork hopes to capitalise on its link to Hibernia Express’s 4,600km ultra-low latency submarine cable, linking New York to England.

With a capacity for speeds of up to 100Gbps, tests have shown the state-of-the-art fibre-optic cable system can transfer data across the Atlantic in under 58.95 milliseconds — half a millisecond off the original projected speed.

When a spur was brought ashore in Cork, the IDA said it would make the city and county more attractive to foreign and domestic tech businesses, and would significantly enhance Ireland’s and Cork’s position as an optimum location for data-intensive tech companies.

Cork is already home to data-hungry tech giants such as Apple, EMC, and IBM. But with recent reports suggesting that demand from global businesses is expected to at least triple Ireland’s data centre capacity within the next three years, a major drive is being launched to ensure Cork gets a slice of the action.

Cork City Council, in association with CorkBIC, IDA, and Cork Chamber, as well as local, national, and international businesses, will host a stakeholder engagement event on Friday to discuss the region’s potential in this growth area.

“The aim of the event in the Clarion Hotel on Friday is to showcase Cork’s potential as a prime location for data storage and data centre development,” said a council spokesman.

“We are looking to engage and partner with anyone who has or anticipates data storage needs and also with people who have an interest in developing, managing or operating a data centre here in Cork.

“The time is considered right to assess the feasibility and means whereby this infrastructural need can be addressed in a manner that can drive the economic development of the region over the coming years.”

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