Hi-tech firms make savings out of thin (cool) air

Everyone knows firms like Google, Microsoft and Dell locate to Ireland for our low corporate tax rate and skilled workforce, but our gloomy Irish weather has also been playing its part in attracting foreign computer giants.

Dell confirmed yesterday that it makes huge savings from our air, which keeps Dell’s data and server centres cool and operational.

“The climate is an advantage. It’s one of a number of key components, along with accessibility to experienced, educated people and a high-speed broadband. But, from an industry point of view, the temperature is low enough in Ireland to allow us access to free, cool air. It essentially means that our data centres’ cooling costs are severely cut.

“We are making savings of 50% in our coolant costs,” explained Anthony Quigley, director of the Cloud Computing Solution Centre for Dell’s Europe, Middle East & Africa Regional Headquarters in Raheen, Limerick.

Ireland’s “free cool air” essentially means companies don’t have to fork out for expensive air conditioning systems in data/server centres that are home to hundreds of computer back-up systems.

“It means we don’t have to spend money on what we call ‘chillers’ for data centres. It’s the same for Google, Microsoft etc,” said Mr Quigley.

“In our data centre, which we would consider to be very small, we are saving around €40,000 per year, which is a 50% saving.

“Anything up to 18-20 degrees Celsius means we’re on 100% free cooling. I’m told there is a neutral humidity in Ireland, which also helps. For technological companies who have massive data centres, then it become a really critical factor. The humidity and temperature factors are very favourable in Ireland,” Mr Quigley added.

Dell moved 2,000 manufacturing jobs from Limerick to Poland in 2009, where it also enjoys savings on cool air and a less expensive workforce.

It still employs 2,300 people in Ireland including 1,100 Limerick staff that work in sales, servicing, and high-end cloud computing.

Yesterday, the company opened its doors to students to allow them access to the company’s operations and service teams as part of Engineers Week 2012.


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