Global connectivity, which is now so central to all our lives, is reliant on the power of data centers. One place where the data center industry is particularly thriving, as a gateway to Europe, is Ireland. The third-largest European island is rapidly becoming one of the most popular digital destinations, attracting international business and technology giants from around the globe.
Ireland is home to over 1,000 multinational companies and hyper-scale providers such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon, all of whom have a vast data center presence on the island. But what exactly has led to the country's digital ascension and why is it seen as one of the rulers of global connectivity?
An open economy and pro-technology ethos make Ireland an attractive place to do business
Ireland has always been a business and technology friendly country, with secure data protection laws and strongly endorsed government policy on the digital sector. Voted as the best western European country to invest in, Ireland also has the fastest-growing GDP in Europe. All of this is supported by a full package of tax benefits and a corporate tax rate of just 12.5%, which is lower than most other European countries, and Ireland’s commitment to sustainability is a decisive factor for organizations that want to operate their data centers most efficiently and responsibly.
However, what strengthens Ireland's position as a digital hub is its people and their overwhelmingly pro-technology ethos. The country boasts a skilled workforce, particularly in the ICT space, with most of its workers having the bonus of being tech-savvy and experienced in international business.
The median age of the population in Ireland is 35, the lowest in Europe, and this age group likes to do business differently. It's no surprise then that organizations in the United States find this one of the major pull factors for operating in Ireland.
Ireland is one of the best-connected locations in the world
While it helps to have robust and pro-digital policies and people, Ireland’s geographical location is the main advantage that has helped turn the country into a digital hub. Situated on the axis between the American and European continents, the country acts as a gateway between Europe and the United States with transatlantic cables that travel from North America to Europe. The physical location, coupled with this breadth of connectivity has attracted connectivity dependent businesses from the US who often select Ireland as an initial location for offering their services in Europe.
There are, for instance, 11 subsea cables connecting Ireland to the United Kingdom, and it’s also home to the Hibernia Atlantic, which is a high-capacity subsea cable linking Ireland directly to North America. There’s also the Emerald Networks’ new-build submarine cable system, which connects North America and Northern Europe with a route that links Long Island and New York to Ireland. Dublin also has a T50 broadband ring in the form of a 44-kilometre long multi-duct fibre-optic cable system that provides access to 27 international carriers. These high-speed and low-latency networks are making Ireland a favored destination for big data and analytics activity.
The world’s leading high-performance companies continue to choose Ireland
Ireland is positioning itself to become a world leader in the growing trends of Internet of Things, Big Data, and cloud. To support these trends, Ireland’s data center industry is growing and innovating in new ways to ensure the success of its business community. As the natural place where cloud and connectivity converge, data centers are becoming strategic assets to help businesses to succeed in the digital world. Luckily, the Irish have noted this trend and have industry organizations, such as Host in Ireland, to help focus on growing and improving Ireland’s leadership in these areas.
As a result, the green island has a solid international customer base, attracting everything from large enterprises, social media companies, gaming companies to SaaS and even startups. Ireland already hosts 16 out of the world's top 20 software companies, 13 out of 15 top medical tech companies, 20 out of the top 25 financial services companies, 8 out of 10 top industrial automation companies and all of the world's biggest pharma companies are already based in the country.
As evidenced by these figures, the digital transformation in Ireland shows no signs of slowing down. Ireland is on track to become even more prominent than it already is in the digital world.