Advertisement
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)

Apple Data Centre Athenry = Middle of Nowhere.

2456710

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 antoobrien


    I doubt the wet weather has anything to do with it

    The climate has a lot to do with it, lower ambient temperatures mean less cooling required. It's also worth noting that we don't tend to get the extremes seen in most of Europe (extended periods of extreme cold during winter, long periods of heat during the summer).

    Hopefully this development will mean more bandwidth being opened up to Galway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,128 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    plodder wrote: »
    I doubt that was a major factor. Water supply was probably one of the biggest ones, as (silicon) chip plants use an awful lot ot it, and one of the main treatment plants for Dublin is in Leixlip. Also, being close to the M4 given that over 5,000 people commute to and from the place. If I'm not mistaken Intel paid a lot of money towards building the M4 interchange near the plant. This is great news for Athenry by the way.
    A bit off-topic, but Intel handles it's own water, certainly it's own waste water and if I'm correct also it's own fresh water.

    The M4 (1994) wasn't built for several years after Intel opened (1990), and even then, junction 6 didn't open until 2003.

    Having a suitably sized site wwould have been a factor, although I understand they even want to expand what they have.
    antoobrien wrote: »
    Hopefully this development will mean more bandwidth being opened up to Galway.
    Unlikely. The problem in small towns and rural Ireland is the last few kilometres to individual homes and businesses, not the large capacity 'mains'.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    Victor wrote: »
    A bit off-topic, but Intel handles it's own water, certainly it's own waste water and if I'm correct also it's own fresh water.
    It still has to dispose of waste water after it's treated, and there is a convenient river at the back of the plant. It also has to obtain fresh water from somewhere too. I could be wrong but, given the volumes and quality required, I'd say it has to come from the public system. They do have treatment of incoming water, but that could be for increasing the purity levels.
    The M4 (1994) wasn't built for several years after Intel opened (1990), and even then, junction 6 didn't open until 2003.
    True, but it was being planned.

    I think the overall point though is that infrastructure (and water in particular) is more likely to be what determines where a plant like this goes rather than social (class) factors.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    They are building in Athenry and Denmark because of the temperate climate and many other factors.

    I doubt the wet weather has anything to do with it nor do I imagine anyone involved ever used terms like "shoneen" or "shur tis" or "a perfect spot for the oul cloud computin" :rolleyes:

    I use the term seoinín all the time and I'll be in two separate Data Centers in West Dublin tomorrow ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,929 ✭✭✭✭ kippy


    It's a perfect spot for their requirements.
    They'd hardly decided to put the DC in a place that wasn't suitable?

    Biggest issue now may be around planning specifically in relation to the method they are going to power it with.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    kippy wrote: »
    Biggest issue now may be around planning specifically in relation to the method they are going to power it with.

    Eh Electricity? All this guff about renewable is more around the fact that they'll book a certain amount of wind capacity but it's probably just gonna have a standard grid connection (though perhaps with couple wind turbines on sight to keep the hippies happy)


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,929 ✭✭✭✭ kippy


    dubhthach wrote: »
    Eh Electricity? All this guff about renewable is more around the fact that they'll book a certain amount of wind capacity but it's probably just gonna have a standard grid connection (though perhaps with couple wind turbines on sight to keep the hippies happy)

    Ah yeah, I know apply haven't invented a new powering method called itricity etc yet but there will be significant power required for the plant itself, backup power, cooling systems etc etc and as you say they will probably need a few turbines etc
    Again, the devil would be in the detail, perhaps it would be straightforward.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,326 ✭✭✭ Oafley Jones


    Subpopulus wrote: »
    Comparing this facility to Apple's Cork building isn't really appropriate. Apple came to Cork in 1980 when they were still a smallish company - they only had 20 people at the start and were only a small part of the IDA's industrial estate. As they got bigger they continually expanded, to the point where it doesn't make financial sense to move. It's not as if someone just decided to put a couple of thousand jobs on top of the hill without any thought for public transport.

    You'd swear it was out in the countryside or something. It's on the north side of the city. There's a bus stop right outside it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,577 ✭✭✭ Deagol


    You'd swear it was out in the countryside or something. It's on the north side of the city. There's a bus stop right outside it.

    Ah but sure it wasn't built in Dublin and therefore it's in the sticks in certain peoples minds :P


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,692 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    dubhthach wrote: »
    Eh Electricity? All this guff about renewable is more around the fact that they'll book a certain amount of wind capacity but it's probably just gonna have a standard grid connection (though perhaps with couple wind turbines on sight to keep the hippies happy)

    For a modest data centre you're going to need about 10MW of electrical power - this is equivalent to a small town. This power is required for cooling and electrical power. I would suspect something on this scale a lot more. I'm sure they've done the home work with Airtricty / ESB to ensure that this can be provided through the existing electricity network and plant - some data centres take 110kv or 38kv and step this down for use. It's a huge energy demand. No matter how much you try to "green" it up, they use huge resources in their operation.

    Ireland has many advantages for data centres - because of temperate climates, 'free cooling' is an option as is using water from local rivers, lakes etc instead of having to cool chilled water of refrigerant. So some of the electricity demand could be offset this way.

    Assuming it's Tier I / II (minimum), i.e. maximum resilience you're talking a lot of electrical power that needs to be backed up in a downtime situation - 10 minutes resilience is good at the moment, then a power source (usually a diesel powered UPS) to kick in and keep it going until the grid problem can be solved. It's massive stand by power demand - big battery racks, dedicated UPS's and lots of storage of diesel to power them.

    Some data centres could be self sufficient indefinitely once they can keep diesel going to them. Wind power will not be sufficient to power a large data centre - it's not available on demand (bummer if you have a power outage on a calm day) and certainly not the mission critical element, perhaps some of the non-essential services. They could explore other options such as a dedicated plant working on bio-mass / CHP as a primary source.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭✭ fcio


    Having been in plenty of datacenter and having a job where I had to do everything from building own hardware to developing the systems to run on these servers... ... middle of nowhere is exactly where you would want your datacenter.

    Your main considerations are:
    1. Cheap electricity (I assume Apple managed to get some sort of a deal with 1-2 providers who would love to say "Apple are our customer")

    2. Redundant electricity connections into the center (no details on this infrastructure) tho plenty of power lines in the area

    3. Cheap and good redundant connectivity, I presume Apple have managed to hash out agreements for use of whatever providers have fiber nearby

    4. Cooling (ties in with 1) since servers produce a ****ton of heat

    5. Cheap land to build warehouses on for the server racks (i seen old industrial buildings being converted)

    There wont be many people working there despite of the hoopla, most of the work is far from "high tech" along the lines of "rack a heavy server here" or "repleace broken drive/memory/network card there", it is fairly low brow work involving quite alot of heavy lifting in a noisy and hot environment. Type of work that was highly automated up to date as is thru better hardware design etc


    Aside all that my personal opinion (after an initial excitement being from the area)
    I am jealous that Apple have the know how and connections to launder north of 60 billion euro thru' Ireland onto Bermuda and now find themselves in a "pickle" where they have to show something for their money flows in order to deflect any inquiries into their financial shenanigans

    I would love to open a datacenter in Galway, with plenty of cheap commercial space available but
    1. Electricity is expensive and I aint Apple or have their name to be able to hash out good deals
    2. Bandwidth for mere commoners is expensive
    3. Simply do not have the large capital required for even the smallest of datacenters
    4. Cheaper to get started collocating in Netherlands as I have done and grow from there

    So yeh its nice to be Apple, and its a positive development tho' they aint doing it for altruistic reasons and probably got free land and other concessions from the State which offers no support for indigenous small companies and continues to offer sweeties to large corporations.

    edit: In order to prevent attacks from Apple fanboys (the worst kind of fanboys :D) like I already said it is a positive development for the area, you are free to ignore the more cynical/experienced part of my argument


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    coffeepls wrote: »
    Ok - not meaning to put an oul spanner in the thinking here, but I remember when I was a sociology student in Maynooth (over 15 years ago), that a similar question was asked about the location of Intel. Why did Intel pick Leixlip? The area was not crying out for a major employer half as much as some areas on the Northside, and there was just as much accessible land elsewhere. I don't remember the Northside area in specific, but I believe at the time it was probably nearer Finglas.

    Eitherways, I do remember (don't quiz me though, this is stuff I heard over 15 years ago) that the main reason (according to a sociology lecturer) was to do with social classes. The area on the Northside was generally working class, and would be much more union orientated, and the area of Leixlip was generally middle class and not union orientated. Make of that what you will - because Intel has been there a long time now.
    So. Apple for Athenry.... hmmm

    Nope. There were two main reasons for locating in Leixlip. First was that there were only two or three places in the country that had the required power redundancy. The other two were near Shannon and Cork iirc. The second reason was that Leixlip was at the sweetspot of a 40-minute commute east into Dublin, and 40 minutes west into various midlands towns. This ensured that there would be a pool of qualified employees within a reasonable commute in all directions.

    Nothing to do with Finglas, unions, or working class / middle class issues.


  • Registered Users Posts: 78,128 ✭✭✭✭ Victor


    The Apple press release is here: https://www.apple.com/ie/pr/library/2015/02/23Apple-to-Invest-1-7-Billion-in-New-European-Data-Centres.html

    In the Danish case, excess heat is to be exported to a district heating system.
    Pinch Flat wrote: »
    Ireland has many advantages for data centres - because of temperate climates, 'free cooling' is an option as is using water from local rivers, lakes etc instead of having to cool chilled water of refrigerant.
    Heat pollution usually means this is usually only possible with estuaries or open sea. The ability of water to hold dissolved oxygen drops sharply as water temperature increases.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,692 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    Victor wrote: »
    The Apple press release is here: https://www.apple.com/ie/pr/library/2015/02/23Apple-to-Invest-1-7-Billion-in-New-European-Data-Centres.html

    In the Danish case, excess heat is to be exported to a district heating system.Heat pollution usually means this is usually only possible with estuaries or open sea. The ability of water to hold dissolved oxygen drops sharply as water temperature increases.

    Free cooling is normally sufficient here - I think Microsoft managed their entire data centre without the requirement for chillers.

    Agreed on the water - generally large bodies required. And excess heat can be sold / packaged for all sorts of uses - not sure if this is being considered given apples relative remoteness.

    Common enough to use lake / sea water in Nordic counties and some in the U.S. and Canada as well. Used for years to cool water for other industries including nuclear power plants.

    Other efficient ways considered (but not used yet afaik here) include hybrid dry coolers. The days of plugging a data centre into the grid and not worrying about much else are gone - worked years ago with less power hungry and less intense data centres, but the race in data centres now is to maximise PUE (power usage efficiency).

    Its trying to balance the simple equation of less in (electrical power) versus more out (cooling)


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,608 ✭✭✭ gctest50


    Pinch Flat wrote: »
    For a modest data centre you're going to need about 10MW of electrical power

    Assuming it's Tier I / II (minimum), i.e. maximum resilience you're talking a lot of electrical power that needs to be backed up in a downtime situation - 10 minutes resilience is good at the moment, then a power source (usually a diesel powered UPS) to kick in and keep it going until the grid problem can be solved. It's massive stand by power demand - big battery racks, dedicated UPS's and lots of storage of diesel to power them.

    Some data centres could be self sufficient indefinitely once they can keep diesel going to them.....

    You could use natural gas as well -

    ~10MW 610-litre natural gas cat



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,692 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    gctest50 wrote: »
    You could use natural gas as well -

    ~10MW 610-litre natural gas cat


    That's a beast ok - Haven't come across these but ideal for providing power and plenty of it.

    natural has I suppose could be used as a resilient fuel Source - so grid power goes flick to gas.

    Diesel can be stored and protected - natural gas can be cut off / disrupted so wouldn't be suitable as a reliable fuel source for back up. So you've still got to provide reliable back up power.

    I'm not sure of the uptime institute (www.uptimeinstitute.com) factor natural gas into data centre classifications.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    I had a look around fab12 in Intel fadó. The one thing that sticks with me was the battery backup, it was a rack of truck lead-acid batteries, or maybe bigger maybe 3' long, 6 or 7 rows high, the entire length of one side of the fab so maybe 50 yards

    This was to power the fab until the diesel generators kicked in after something like 5 seconds( could have ben anywhere in the 3-9 second range.)


    The site at Derrydonnell is served by the 220kV line from Tynagh and further from the 400kV line from Moneypoint to Dublin. This line taps into Galway city
    Also you've the 110kV line from Shanonbridge to Galway

    So you've a 4 way redundant conection to the grid.

    There's also the pso levy for Tynagh runing out soon, so Tynagh probably want a steady customer to take up some of their capacity.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,608 ✭✭✭ gctest50


    a lovely little Toshiba genny maybe ? 30 years - no refuelling

    http://www.toshiba.co.jp/nuclearenergy/english/business/4s/features.htm


  • Registered Users Posts: 942 ✭✭✭ xper


    Those speculating on the infrastructural considerations of this planned data centre in Athenry may take note that Apple's large data centre opened about three years ago in North Carolina accompanied by three dedicated power farms with a total generating capacity that exceeds the data centre's current requirements. Now two of those plants are solar which is obviously not a runner in Co. Galway but the third, interestingly, is a 10MW fuel cell farm that uses biogas. Is there a reliable source of biogas available in Ireland? They could use natural gas from the nearby Corrib pipeline but that wouldn't tick the renewable box.

    Anyway, don't underestimate the willingness of this company, with its ridiculous amounts of cash on hand (much of which cannot be repatriated back to the USA due to *cough* tax implications) and a penchant for absolute control and secrecy over its operations to ignore the conventional and adopt new approaches, whether it be new port connections on its laptops or building new facilities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,476 ✭✭✭ ardmacha


    The waste heat would power a mighty cannabis grow house.


  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 23 ✭✭✭ fcio


    ardmacha wrote: »
    The waste heat would power a mighty cannabis grow house.

    Green computing eh :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    ardmacha wrote: »
    The waste heat would power a mighty cannabis grow house.

    Steve Jobs was more into Acid to be honest ... ;)


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 13,991 Mod ✭✭✭✭ monument


    Victor wrote: »

    With the line:

    "In Viborg, Denmark, Apple will eliminate the need for additional generators by locating the data centre adjacent to one of Denmark’s largest electrical substations."

    ...it nearly sound like they will have on-site generators in Galway. Coca-Cola apparently has such in Ballina.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,278 ✭✭✭ dowlingm


    ardmacha wrote: »
    The waste heat would power a mighty cannabis grow house.
    actually I was thinking about the feasibility of greenhouses nearby... But they probably want to keep it fairly passive rather than needing to blow moist air several hundred metres.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,278 ✭✭✭ dubhthach


    Generally all data centers worth their salt have some sort of local generation capacity, usually diesel generators which have a kick in time of circa ~10seconds, the "battery farm" (which in some locations can be as big as separate building) makes sure there are no outage while the generators spin up.

    I get an email every other week from one of our DC providers mentioning that they are doing a test spin-up of onsite generators.

    Mar shampla:
    Dear Customer

    Date: 04-03-2015
    Time: 09:00 – 12:00
    Impact: Standard tests, no customer impact. This e-mail is for information purposes only.

    Scope of Work:
    Starting at 09:00 on 04-03-2015 , the <snip> Operations team will perform standard Generator load tests at our Dublin facility. These routine tests ensure that the IDC Power systems are operating as intended. Due to the redundancy in our power systems, electricity supply to the IDC will be maintained throughout, and customers will feel no impact.

    Duration:
    The tests will be completed before 12:00.

    Questions/Comments:

    Please feel free to contact <snip> at any time regarding this notification. Please also notify us if you feel this notice should be directed to another contact at your company:

    How to contact <snip> regarding this notification:

    <snip>

    Sincerely - <snip> Operations & Engineering


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,692 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    Static batteries are usually used to take the electrical load for the 10 seconds or so it takes to get the stand by generators started and synched to the electrical supply. The mroe resilient the load, the more batteries you need - I think I read somewhere about a rack in the US that can take 10 MW. Massive. (edit - 46MW apparently for 7 minutes. http://www05.abb.com/global/scot/scot232.nsf/veritydisplay/3c4e15816e4a7bf1c12578d100500565/$file/case_note_bess_gvea_fairbanks-web.pdf - Jaysus) Some less resilient data centers may just take the servers and cooling on the stand by, others will take the entire center's electrical load. Generators can be configured in N +1 as well - so a back-up back-up generator.

    Another solution is a rotary UPS

    http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2011/05/03/video-demo-how-a-rotary-ups-works/

    This uses a fly wheel turning all the time - the incoming electrical supply is routed through it. If the power supply dies, the wheel continues turning and then kicks in the diesel generator to continue the supply. Has advantages in that masses of batteries that have to be stored and maintained / checked / replaced not needed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,202 ✭✭✭ MayoSalmon


    There's also the pso levy for Tynagh runing out soon, so Tynagh probably want a steady customer to take up some of their capacity.

    Generators don't have the option of signing CFD's with individual companies, they must sign with Electricity suppliers or bid to the pool.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    MayoSalmon wrote: »
    Generators don't have the option of signing CFD's with individual companies, they must sign with Electricity suppliers or bid to the pool.
    Individual consumers?
    Electric Ireland are a company. page 15 of this says
    Tynagh have signed a 10 year cfd with EI


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,202 ✭✭✭ MayoSalmon




  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    MayoSalmon wrote: »
    And?!!:confused:

    page 15


Advertisement