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January 25, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:40am

Facebook to open €200 million data centre in Ireland

News: Site to use IT infrastructure designed and built as part of the Open Compute Project.

By Joao Lima

Amid exponential growth of its web applications, Facebook has unveiled that it will expand its data centre footprint in Europe with a second hub being built in Ireland.

The €200 million site, will be located north west of Dublin. It is projected as a 227-acre hub that will help millions of people use the company’s social networking platform, Messenger app, Instagram and other apps, according to Tom Furlong, VP of infrastructure at Facebook.

Facebook is expected to break ground on the new data centre in the coming months, with the site predicted to start powering the firm’s web applications by late 2017 or early 2018.

Initially, Facebook will build 31,000 sq of data centre floor. Permission for a second building has already been granted.

Mitul Patel, associate director for data centre research at CBRE, told CBR: "Facebook’s focus on Dublin at this time reaffirms the importance of Europe to its global infrastructure network.

"Dublin also offers Facebook a level of protection against the safe harbour ruling, meaning that data kept on US citizens and hosted in Dublin won’t be transferred back to the US due to EU privacy law."

The data centre project will provide work for 2,000 people during construction and 150 permanent jobs once online. It will be similar to Facebook’s first European hub in Luleå, Sweden, opened in 2013, and use 100% renewable energy to power its computing needs.

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Furlong said: "Our data centre in Clonee will be powered by 100% renewable energy, thanks to Ireland’s robust wind resources. This will help us reach our goal of powering 50% of our infrastructure with clean and renewable energy by the end of 2018."

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said on his Facebook page that the Clonee Data Centre will be one of the most advanced and energy efficient data centres in the world.

He said: "One interesting engineering detail is that we are cooling the facility with outdoor air, but because this is near the Irish Sea we will be using an indirect air cooling process to filter the salt from the air.

irish dc

Further to this, the company unveiled that all the racks, servers, and other components to be deployed in the data centre have been designed and built from scratch as part of the Open Compute Project, an industry-wide coalition of companies dedicated to creating energy- and cost-efficient infrastructure solutions and sharing them as open source.

Zuckerberg said: "We are glad to be investing in Ireland, to become a part of the Clonee community, and to continue building the massive infrastructure that connects our global community."

With the Irish data centre, Facebook will be expanding its portfolio to six hubs. The company’s first ever data centre is located in Prineville, Oregon, US. Other sites have been built in Altoona, Iowa; Forest City, North Carolina; and in Lulea, Sweden. Facebook is also set to build a new facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Facebook already employs in excess of 1000 people in Ireland developing, maintaining and managing their SM platform

The Irish tech scene has also seen other pushes this year to grow its importance in the ICT sector.

Earlier this month, the government announced a €28 million investment in research equipment and facilities though Science Foundation Ireland.

The investment will be directed into five themes with a total of 21 projects around Big Data, IoT, networks, 3D printing, and others.

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