Sunday, October 22, 2017

‘Our industry is not rocket science’: Interxion MD talks company’s Irish position in Europe from Brexit to power challenges posed by Microsoft, Google and Amazon

On the day Interxion opens its latest data centre in Ireland, Data Economy speaks to Tanya Duncan, MD of Interxion Ireland.

Ireland has over the last few years attracted dozens of data centre builds. Either from web scalers or colocation players, the country is today one of the highest-ranking hosting nations in Europe.

With that in mind, Interxion has become the latest to push that even further with the opening of a new facility in Dublin, but what is the company’s position in the market and what are the challenges and benefits of being in Ireland?

Data Economy (DE) has sat down with Tanya Duncan, MD of Interxion Ireland, to report on just that.


DE: What is Interxion’s story in Ireland and company philosophy? 

TD: We have been in Ireland since 2001. We are definitely considered one of the premium data centre providers with the reputation for understanding our clients’ needs, and that is one of the key differentiators between all data centre providers.

It is not just about ‘here is your plug, your rack’. It is more about: ‘this is your business, this is what you need; you need scalability’, and we understand that.

For example, if you are a media company and it is “March madness” in the US – when their usage of data and processing explodes in March – they may need to burst into the cloud and we have to understand people’s businesses and pressures to give them the right solution.

Our industry is not rocket science. It is about connectivity; it is all about getting speed and access to the right people to the right audience and having it risk free. That is what it is all about.


DE: Where do most of your clients come from? 

Interxion’s newest data centre, DUB3, in Dublin. Source: Interxion

TD: There is good indigenous demand from Irish companies and we do get some from the UK and wider Europe, especially because we have an European footprint and the need for a lot of organisations to have some infrastructure close to the eyeballs [devices], to the users. You need to have a presence a bit everywhere.

And then the US for sure. And this come down to the package that you get with Ireland.

It is the people, the pedigree, the good networks, etc. One of the main things is also to make sure it is risk free, data protection is on point, etc. All of these things have to have a ticked box.

A lot of people think [companies are coming here] because of tax reductions, of course that is a big part, but it is not everything.


DE: With such a mixed client base, how have customers reacted to Brexit? 

TD: Since the referendum on June 23, 2016, we have had a few enquires from global, US and European organisations that are in the UK. Tentatively enquires, nothing concrete.

I think it will all materialise when there is a date set in the sand [for the UK to leave the EU]. Then people will realise it is happening, especially taking into account the data protection and sovereignty spaces, really big issues. Cost is a big issue in the UK as well.

They are definitely exploring but no one is making sudden decisions; you do not make sudden decisions on your infrastructure.


DE: What is the long-term plan for Ireland? 

Interxion’s European footprint. Source: Interxion

TD: One of the key things to keep Ireland developing is that we have to make sure we have the infrastructure.

For example, the power infrastructure we have to keep on developing it, and it is not an overnight thing because in terms of the network, in terms of the national grid they take time. Something like 18 months to 24 months at best before you start getting new networks, before substations can start being built, etc.

There is a huge demand because in Ireland we have this different position where we have these hyperscale data centres and then we have the ones like ourselves, where we have colo, retail, wholesale, and you have that real mix in Ireland.

In one sense, we are very happy for the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Google, they are all here, which is great. They give us a name, a reputation and people see them here and they come to Ireland, so that is great, but on the other side, they take a lot of the infrastructure in terms of power and whatever else and so we have to be very aware of what is happening with power and the uptake of power and that we are on the agenda as well.


DE: Would you say there is enough power in Ireland to support all this infrastructure?

TD: If you go to the right places. It depends where you are. There is currently a committee being set up between the government, some data centre providers and the EirGrid – the people that manage the national grid – to try to future proof as much as possible because the growth has just been phenomenal.