Q.1 – How did you first become involved with the Data Centre Sector?

A.1 – I was working for the London Stock Exchange and they asked me to get involved in their DC fit out in Docklands and I have been involved in data centres ever since.

Q.2 – How do you think Brexit and GDPR have impacted the storage of data and the future locations of data centres?

A.2 – I don’t think BREXIT has particularly impacted the storage of data or future locations of data centres, GDPR has but I feel it has had a positive impact with key locations almost being a required location for companies to have data centres, the UK and many parts of Europe being a beneficiary of this.

Q.3 – Ireland punches above its weight in Data Centres Investment, in your opinion, “What factors have driven this/will continue to drive this?”

A.3 – In many cases I think this has been due to the perceived beneficial tax position, the ease of working with the regional councils and the availability of sites and power. Obviously, all those factors are changing and it will be interesting to see how the Irish DC market develops over the next few years.

Q.4 – In Your Opinion, “What are the opportunities or/and challenges facing the Data Centre Sector over the next few years? and for Ireland in particular?”

A.4 – Opportunities will continue to be driven by the cloud service provision demand of the hyper-scales and the obvious challenges around power, fibre, site availability will continue to prevail, I think we will soon be facing a further challenge, whereby many owner operators will not want the financial liability of owning and operating their own data centres and won’t want the ongoing liability of replacing aging plant within their DC’s. In addition to the well-travelled path of sale and leaseback, I think we will start to see some very interesting financing arrangements being developed to tackle this issue.

Q.5 – IOT, AI, 5G, Smart buildings, The Edge, Autonomous Cars/Assisted Driving and the overall amount of Data stored will affect DataCentre Infrastructure? and the Data Centre Sector in particular?

A.5 – I think it will drive many more application to cloud based operation which in turn will probably drive a demand for more data centres, perhaps of a lower latency. Geographical location will become less important as we start to see triangulation of sites.

Additional Thoughts

I personally feel there are very interesting times ahead for data centres, they can’t and won’t continue to operate as inefficiently as they currently are. I would say that the current requirements being stated by the hyper-scales are probably not achievable in the immediate future, which could drive a short- term shortage of technical space. I think we will see significant demand coming from streaming media companies moving forward and I also believe we will continue to see significant activity in the mergers and acquisitions front and many more strategic alliances between major players to deliver white space. My main prediction is that we will increasingly start to see unmanned DC’s as operators strive for the smarter, optimised operation of their data centre assets.

Name: Alex Sharp

Title: Global Head of Projects and Construction

Company: CBRE DataCentre Solutions

Date Completed: 3rd September 2018

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