IMG_1519A new data centre…. on site or away from home?

In most cases our clients will opt for a data centre either on-site or in a location that has easy access from their main building. More often than not, the client in question owns the land already and planning approvals can be fairly straight forward if regulations are adhered to. Our modular data centres or modular data centre pods in some cases do not require planning permission at all, which makes the process even easier.

On occassion, clients will select a data centre location for a backup facility that will offer better protection by being away from their main site. Clients usually purchase the land and the location is chosen for security, ease of access and power supply. The decision for a data centre at home or away is relatively straight forward for clients with a small number of DCs to consider.

Things become a little more difficult when you grow to the size of a company such as Apple, who is in the news again this week in connection with the proposed data centre site in Ireland. The proposed site in County Galway has generated a barrage of complaints from locals with concerns including the impact on local animal populations as well as the risk of flooding at a nearby golf course.

In addition, Apple had to defend their site selection to those who have complained about it’s proximity to a nuclear power plant (over 280km away). The Apple site will span a 15 year development and cost over $2 billion, it is enormous, it is well outside of allocated data centre construction sites and understandably people want to know why this commercial forestry site has been selected for the construction of up to eight data centre buildings?

In Apple’s defence, they have been mindful of their power supply, which is in close proximity and believe the proposed design will be sympathetic to surrounds and largely invisible through the thick forest landscape. They are committed to wildlife protection and the site is rich in renewable energy sources too.

The key for Apple and many digital companies, is planning their data centre expansion to meet the insatiable demand for their digital services such as Apple Music, Apple Pay and the App store and balancing that with the public resistance to having data centre sites on their doorstep that interfere with the environment and set precedent for other large corporates to do the same.