Amazon seeks permission to build datacentre on site of former Irish biscuit factory

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has applied for permission to partially demolish part of a former biscuit factory in Ireland as it prepares to repurpose the site as a datacentre.

The infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) giant acquired the Jacob’s Biscuit site in Tallaght, South Dublin, during the summer of 2015, according to a report in the Irish Independent, after several years of being unoccupied.

The company is thought to operate more than half a dozen datacentres in Ireland, bringing its total infrastructure spend to more than €1bn, the newspaper estimates.

The company has applied to South Dublin County Council to begin the preparatory work needed to convert the site into a datacentre, which includes a mix of demolition and removal work.

The application, submitted via the Amazon Data Services Ireland Limited (ADSIL) subsidiary, states the company is seeking the council’s permission to partially demolish the main factory building and totally flatten various extensions and outbuildings covering 5,480m2.

It also sets out the company’s plans to remove other “redundant service installations” including tanks, plant compounds and ancillary structures.

A decision on the application is due by 7 April 2016.

Ireland has emerged as a popular location for datacentre builds in recent years, thanks to its temperate climate, relatively low land costs and proximity to transatlantic undersea network cables.

This has seen the likes of Apple, Facebook and Microsoft embark on Irish datacentre builds, along with some smaller players, including Sungard and – more recently – Interxion.

However, concerns about how well-equipped the country is to respond to the growing demand for power these datacentre builds are likely to fuel have emerged of late.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Ricky Cooper, vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at datacentre builder Digital Realty, said Ireland is facing some challenges around the supply of “new power” sources.

An in-depth report in the Irish Times highlighted the issue in early 2015, explaining how the country’s reliance on imported power from the UK could put it at risk of energy shortages in the years to come.

Part of the problem for the datacentre sector, Cooper said, is operators are often forced to overprovision power because of the difficulties they face trying to accurately gauge how much customers are likely to use over the course of their contracts.

“As yet, no-one has been able to gauge how much they’re using really accurately. At the same time, they’re virtualising and consolidating, meaning customers are entering into a contract for 500kw, but they might end up using 100kw,” said Cooper.

“There isn’t a mechanism to help them scale down and – in the meantime – we can’t sell that extra 400kw of power. That’s the problem,” he added. xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx

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