Data Centres In Ireland: The Ever-growing Industry
Why is Ireland a popular spot for setting up data centres?
Ireland has been growing in popularity as the ideal data centre destination over the past few years. There are 53 operational data centres in Ireland, with 8 more under construction and 26 with planning approval and are expected to double by 2025.
The rapid growth of data centres will only progress over the years as more and more people become reliant on the internet to meet their daily needs. The onset of COVID-19 made people more dependent on online shopping. There have been many first time shoppers, who are finally adopting online shopping to try and restrict their need to go into shops. With more and more activities moving online, the dependence on data centres will only increase over time.
So why Ireland? What gives Ireland an advantage in terms of being the ideal data centre location? There are a few reasons that contribute to Ireland’s success when it comes to data centres as a survey conducted by the IDA indicates:
- Proximity to key markets
Ireland is a well-connected location, as it is an EU member nation and the only natively English speaking country. Ireland is also strategically located between the US and Europe giving it an added advantage as it makes it an ideal connection point for communications and data transmission.
- The available infrastructure
Ireland is known for having one of the most robust, reliable, and stable grid systems in Europe. It also has the added access to large amounts of renewable energy, including wind energy which helps power data centres and matches the energy requirements. Here are a few more points as describing Ireland's infrastructure advantage as a data centre hub.
- Skilled workforce
Ireland has one of the youngest and diverse workforce in Europe. In addition, the workforce is also highly technologically advanced in terms of their educational background, as many of the universities in Ireland are actively trying to direct their efforts to improve and increase market-relevant technical skills. Ireland, also being a vibrant and welcoming country, has talented candidates pouring in from different parts of the world.
Data centres require a colder temperature and humidity control, hence certain locations are more ideal than others. This gives Ireland an edge as it seems to possess the optimal climatic conditions for data centres to function and reduces the running costs involved for heat-generating computers.
- Power and resources:
The Irish Data Centre Load Projections for 2020 according to a report by the IWEA states that there is currently a capacity on the system for more than 6.5 GW, with further capacity increases planned under EirGrid’s ‘Grid25’ plan.
It also explains how Dublin being the centre for most of the data centres in Ireland is almost reaching a point of saturation, in which case there have been forecasts of moving outside to set up data centres. It was further confirmed that Cork and Limerick are both pinned down for future data centre locations as Cork currently has the capacity to support up to 500 MW of data-centre load.
Additionally, Ireland relies heavily on wind farms to produce a substantial amount of the electricity for the country. The national target is to produce 40% of the available electricity from wind, by the end of 2021 . Wind and Data Centres make natural partners since Data Centres flat demand profile lifts the minimum night-time demand, and this reduces the cost of integrating wind in the Irish market, bringing savings to consumers.
The availability of efficient renewable sources of energy makes Ireland a furthermore attractive when it comes to setting up data centres. Although the resources are there, technology and investment are needed in order to keep up with demand. The cause of the shortage was the closure of several power plants, most powered by peat.
Some sceptics blame Data Centers for the shortage, the simple reason is power plants were taken off the grid without replacement sources in place. The answer to the shortage in the interim would be generators while investment in technology can explore how to take advantage of the huge potential of both wind and hydro energy resources in Ireland.
- Government incentives
All the data centre companies and their hiring plans
TikTok, the Chinese social media app, recently announced their plans of setting up data centres in Europe over the next 2 years, which has led to hundreds of jobs being announced in Ireland. The €420 million data centre will be the first one set up in Europe and will be operational in Ireland by 2022.
Google Facebook and Amazon, already have large established Data Center clusters in Ireland, and are expanding further. Amazon has a new data centre that will be covering a 50-acre site on the IDA Business and Technology Park on Donore Road, Drogheda.
What kind of jobs are available in data centres and what salaries are offered
One of the greatest advantages of Data Centres is the high volume of jobs it produces across different industries to different teams and over various projects. Some of these data centre jobs are seasonal, some are contract-based, with the opportunity to go permanent. Most of the roles are on a permanent basis with excellent and fast career potential. Below is a list of job titles and salaries for different roles in data centres:
- Data Centre Manager €60,000 - €80,000
- Data Centre Technician €30,000 - €42,000
- Data Centre Operative €30,000 - €35,000
- Data Centre Security Manager €38,000 - €55,000
- Data Centre Facilities Manager €55,000 - €75,000
- Data Centre Engineering Manager €58,000 - €75,000
- Data Centre Engineering Operative €40,000 - €50,000
- Electrical Engineer €45,000
- Senior Electrical Engineer €60,000 - €80000
- HVAC Engineer €44,000 - €55,000
- System Engineer Hardware Support Engineer €37,000 - €50,000
For a complete list of salaries for both permanent and contract positions, you can have a look at our Tech Salary Guide for 2021.
We’re always hiring for Data Centre roles that might be relevant to you are listed below. If you find a job that suits your profile and apply now we’ll be in touch.
What does the recruitment process in data centres generally look like
If you haven’t worked in a Data Center before, depending on the Data Center you are interviewing with, chances are you won’t have the exact expertise you’ll need when you join. So, although expertise is important when applying for data center jobs, what’s more, important is a sharp and flexible mind. There is no book that you can refer to, as the technology they deploy will more likely have been invented there, certainly with companies such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
The Data Center industry has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years. Operators of cloud platforms at a global scale, companies like Google and Facebook, as well as data center providers like Equinix and Digital Realty Trust, have been expanding their infrastructure around the world, and competition for talent is heating up. The recruitment process can be difficult.
People in Data Center jobs are generalists or systems-level engineers, but they typically have at least foundational knowledge of computer science, electrical, or mechanical engineering to cover many aspects of the role. The skills vary, but troubleshooting is a major trait required.
When considering some of the skills required (albeit not direct knowledge of what you will be working on) will be networking, computer/server hardware, cabling/wiring, systems, electrical and mechanical engineering. Depending on the role you are applying to of course, but a lot of roles in data centers today are all-rounder type technicians. Having that solid engineering or technical foundation to build from is important. That ability to learn is critical.
Data Center design is a more focused role, hence qualifications and specific experience would be important. Most people on design teams are licensed engineers in regions where they work. Even in design roles, it's not uncommon for data centres to look for candidates from the traditional data center disciplines like electrical and mechanical engineering, security, and supply-chain management to building information modeling and statistical probability analysis.
Personality is also carefully considered. The key traits that are carefully considered include: being collaborative, being willing to take ownership of projects and issues, and being transparent. There’s no room for the knowledge-is-power attitude which is common in corporate environments, where people guard their influence by sharing as little information as possible. It’s a highly security sensitive place to work, so discipline, honesty, and integrity are assessed. It may seem obvious but, they look for a pleasant person as they want to hire people who they are happy to spend eight hours a day with.
COVID-19’s impact on Data Centres
As we all know Covid has had a wide-reaching impact across all industries, which include Data Centre operations. This pandemic has increased the requirement for data capacity and the demand for web-enabled services like never before, as seen with remote work/hybrid work becoming the new norm.
We are also seeing large shifts in the retail space with huge growth with online shopping. The dependence on Data Centres has continued to increase. They are one of the most important services we have. The period between March 2020 to Oct 2021 saw importance grow even more but that does come at a cost to the electrical grid as mentioned above.
Data Centers have the same restrictions as other businesses and we have seen projects being put on hold or delayed due to staff shortages and keeping within government guidelines. As these government guidelines change and covid is no longer considered a health risk we will see more projects come online, those staff shortages and electrical grid shortages sorted, the future looks bright for the industry on the back of a challenging 18-24 months.
As we ease out of restrictions in the coming months, it's expected there will be a large up lift in recruitment in the space. If you are expecting growth within your organisation please call us to run through how we can assist.
The Data Centre industry is ever-growing in this world of internet of things. If you are interested and need a few insights, we’re happy to help. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the form below with your query.