Irish firms are in the grips of a data tsunami

The rise of the digital economy is driving businesses from public to private interconnection and a new study estimates that by 2022 the volume of private traffic will be 53 zettabytes.

This is more than 13 times the volume of the public internet today.

The third Global Interconnection Index by global data centre giant Equinix has found that 40pc of Irish businesses believe that private interconnection is central to their survival.

An estimated 57pc are expanding their businesses overseas and 63pc are relying upon private interconnection to enable them to do so.

More than a third (37pc) believe that a move to multi-cloud systems (public and private) is a top priority for them.

In response to rapidly growing volumes of data, enterprise consumption of interconnection bandwidth will grow at a 64pc CAGR (compound annual growth rate) globally, outpacing other forms of business data exchange. This is due to be even higher for EMEA, with consumption growing at a 67pc CAGR, leading enterprises to account for 60pc of total interconnection bandwidth in 2022.

The survey also found more than one-third (36pc of Irish IT decision-makers believe interconnection can help their business to gain competitive advantage within the marketplace. Half (50pc) believe that interconnection is a key facilitator of digital transformation, while 40% consider it to be central to their business’ survival.

Ireland’s role as a data centre hub is also continuing to attract business. Almost half (47pc) of IT decision-makers in Ireland say that due to the flourishing data centre industry, Ireland is the best place in EMEA to interconnect with partners, customers, supply chain and cloud service providers.

Equinix’s Irish operations owe their heritage to long-running data centre company Data Electronics, which was acquired by TelecityGroup in 2011 for €100m. Equinix acquired TelecityGroup in January 2016 for $3.8bn, increasing its data centre footprint globally to 145 sites, including three in Dublin.

We spoke to Scott McConnell, director, Equinix Ireland, about the rise of interconnection and private connectivity and what it means for Irish firms and enterprises.

What is driving this data tsunami?

The data tsunami is being driven by the growth of the digital economy as enterprise adoption of new technologies accelerates. In Ireland, the digital economy is thriving because of the presence of so many multinationals. Businesses need to innovate to compete. So we see industries such as healthcare, financial services and IT producing enormous volumes of data as they embrace the latest technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence. And this is only the beginning. If you look at the growth of online gaming and streaming, they will have – and are having – a colossal impact on global and Irish data volumes.

Interconnection – or private connectivity – is essential for the speed and data volumes required for digital business, and that in itself is driving the growth of data volumes. Businesses increasingly exchange data and collaborate with one another, leading to a multiplication of data.

How are Irish businesses dependent on data to drive this rise in connectivity?

Without data and the ability to exchange it quickly, securely and with minimal delay, the interconnection economy cannot function. For increasing numbers of Irish businesses to compete, they need to be engaging in the interconnection economy and exchanging content with global data companies and other key players in the space, such as clouds and networks.

Network performance and bandwidth capacity must support the exponential increase in data volumes through interconnection. Minimising distance is key to the quality of the transfer and exchange of this data between multiple parties – in other words, operating at the digital edge. Edge connectivity is a critical enabler of applications requiring the gathering, management and transfer of data to and from a multiplicity of new devices, sources and enterprises.

What is Dublin’s role at the heart of this digital storm and how can we ensure the industry’s future growth?

The fact that Dublin is one of the world’s leading digital ecosystems – including many hyperscale internet companies – is a huge advantage. It ensures that businesses can exchange data locally with one another and achieve huge advantages in terms of speed and efficiency of interconnection. This local interconnection is critical for the businesses and applications of the new world economy.

The success of Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric in Ireland has been propelled significantly by the strength of Dublin’s digital ecosystem. We interconnect networks, cloud service providers and large enterprises from across the world with Dublin and provide access to our leading digital hub. We need to continue to encourage new world economy companies – both indigenous and multinational – to invest here to ensure continued growth.

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 24 October, 2019