It’s usually cold, rainy, blustery weather that makes people want to leave a place, not move to it. But for Google, Ireland’s famously challenging weather is exactly what makes it so attractive – well, that and its remarkably low corporation tax, that is.
According to a recent Guardian report, the country’s climate is actually a selling point when it comes to attracting tech and online companies such as Google, as the cold weather helps keep down the running costs of enormous data centers.
The Web company recently built a $75 million data center close to its European head office in the Irish capital, Dublin. The cooler weather helps make the center more energy efficient, as less power is required to keep its servers cool. While obviously helping Google to save money, it also helps to enhance its green credentials.
Dan Costello, Google’s global data center operations officer, told the Guardian: “It’s not often that Irish weather is a cause for praise, but the temperate climate was very significant in choosing Ireland as a location for this data center.”
According to Google, its data centers use 50 percent less energy than typical data centers by incorporating smart temperature controls, the latest power distribution methods, and what it describes as ‘free-cooling’ techniques, enabled by building the centers in cool locations like Ireland where it can use outside air and water to keep servers at the optimum temperature for safe and efficient operation.
Not only Google
It’s not only Google that has chosen Ireland as a location for some of its data centers. Computer giant Microsoft has invested over $600 million in such facilities in the last few years while UK firm Telecity last year spent around $131 million on a center in Dublin.
“The growth of the digital economy is creating significant demand for IT infrastructure environments,” Maurice Mortell, Telecity’s managing director, told the Guardian. “The cooling element of these IT facilities is one of the reasons why Ireland is a popular choice for data centers.”
While the Irish government has no control over the chilly wind blowing off the Atlantic, it can set the rate of corporation tax, an important factor for companies looking for a location to set up shop. The 12.5 percent rate has in recent years encouraged many tech- and online-related businesses to base their regional headquarters in the small European country, including the likes of Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, LinkedIn, IBM, Zynga, HP and Dropbox.
The government recently spent €5 million ($6.6m) on the Irish Centre for Cloud Computing and Commerce (IC4), a new cloud computing research center located in Dublin. With investment like that, and plenty of inclement weather to go with it, the Emerald Isle looks set to maintain its position at the forefront of Europe-based computer development for some time to come.