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Mark Zuckerberg confirms Ireland data centre building work has begun

By Yvette Shapiro

Published 26/01/2016

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Servers in the Swedish data centre
Employee Charlotte Ens in Sweden

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that building work has begun on the company's new data centre in Ireland. The facility - reportedly costing €200m (£152m) - is being built in Clonee, just outside Dublin. It is Facebook's sixth data centre and only the second in Europe, after Lulea in Sweden.

"Data centres deliver all of Facebook's services to you. They're some of the most complex machines ever created," Mr Zuckerberg (right) said in an online post.

All the racks, servers and other components 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.

The 31,000 sq m Clonee data centre will be run on 100% renewable energy and it will be naturally cooled by air from outside - with a special filtration system used to remove salt from the air due to its proximity to the Irish Sea.

"We're 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," Mr Zuckerberg said.

About 2,000 people will be employed during the different construction phases and dozens of people will be employed at the facility on a permanent basis when it opens in 2018.

The Clonee site is being opened due to the company's rapid global expansion: it doubled its number of daily users from just 500m in 2011 to more than a billion by the end of 2015.

Niall McEntegart, a Louth native, currently heads up Facebook's data centre in Sweden, and said Clonee was chosen for a variety of reasons, with its proximity to Dublin, where the tech giant has its European headquarters, being perhaps the most obvious one.

"It created a level of synergy that we don't have anywhere else on the planet in Facebook," he said. "There is good access to power and fibre. The climate is really good and the country is stable politically, seismically even, in terms of earthquakes it is good. Availability in relation to labour as well was huge, there is a huge skills pool in Ireland in relation to data centres."

Meath County Council chief executive Jackie Maguire hopes Facebook's presence will help attract similar companies to the region. "For every one job you create, there is a spin-off of at least three or four additional jobs, whether it is in hotels, catering facilities or services like that," she said.

Belfast Telegraph

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