Microsoft To Build Data Center in Ireland
Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it will build a $500 million data center in Ireland
to boost its services for tens of millions of customers, chiefly in Europe.
Microsoft said the 550,000-square-foot center, scheduled to open in mid-2009,
will house tens of thousands of servers. These will be used to power Microsoft's
Windows Live-branded products, including search engines, e-mail accounts and
John Mangelaars, vice president of the Microsoft Online Services Group for
Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said the principal goal was to improve download
speed and storage capacity. He said Microsoft had 150 million account holders
in his regions of responsibility, chiefly in Europe, and expected to double
that customer base within the next few years.
"We always need to be improving of capacity as we attract more users,
because people are always storing more things, bigger things. They get spoiled,
because what is great in load time today is slow tomorrow," Mangelaars
told The Associated Press.
The Dublin facility will be Microsoft's third massive data-storage and search-processing
warehouse and the first outside the United States. The first in Quincy, Wash.,
opened in April. A second, in San Antonio, Texas., is under construction.
Microsoft employs more than 1,200 people at three campuses in Ireland, its
major European base. The new data center will be constructed at the Grange Castle
Business Park in southwest suburban Dublin, near existing plants for drug makers
Wyeth of the United States and Takeda Chemical Industries Ltd. of Japan.
Microsoft Ireland's managing director, Joe Macri, said the data center would
employ an additional 15 to 20 people, reflecting the high level of automation
involved, while subcontracts would employ five to six times as many people.
He said construction would employ 800.
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern lauded Microsoft's decision as "a further
example of Ireland being to the forefront when it comes to the cutting edge
of technology. ... The Irish government recognizes the importance of being a
competitive, innovation-driven, knowledge economy."
Ireland has boomed since the mid-1990s by promoting itself to high-technology
companies seeking a low-tax, English-speaking base within the euro currency
zone. Microsoft arrived before the boom, in 1985.
The government's Investment and Development Agency, which attracts foreign
companies with grants and industrial land, said it sponsored Microsoft's move
but declined to provide details.