The Stack Archive News Article

Floating data centre proposed for Limerick Docks, Ireland

Mon 10 Dec 2018

Californian firm Nautilus has filed a proposal to moor a floating data centre at Ted Russell Dock in Ireland, with the relevant port authority, the Shannon Foynes Port Company, eager to see the proposal through

The proposed €35m waterborne centre would comprise four data halls over two floors above deck, with cooling and electrical systems below water level.

The facility would be no larger than existing vessels moored at the dock and would be secured to the quay wall in a similar manner – tied to the docks and accessible by ramp.

Nautilus CEO Jim Connaughton is optimistic that the new floating facility will be up and running by 2020, and heralded the economic benefits it could provide the Limerick economy, claiming it could create around 24 permanent jobs and 100 temporary construction roles.

“Wherever there are data centre hubs, lots of additional jobs follow,” Connaughton said.

Testing the waters

Nautilus last water-tested its floating data centre concept in the San Francisco Bay area in 2015. It pits its water-cooled design as the “new standard” in energy efficiency, environmental sustainability, and global scalability.

By recirculating naturally cool water from sea, rivers or lakes, Nautilus claims it can reduce OPEX by 30 percent, drive 5 times more power density per rack and reduce power usage effectiveness (PUE) to less than 1.14.

PUE is an important metric for measuring the energy efficiency data of centres under normal operating conditions. According to Uptime Institute, the global data centre PUE averaged out at 1.58 in 2018.

Pat Keating, chief executive of Shannon Foynes Port Company, the port authority with jurisdiction over the waters in question, welcomed the proposal, saying it has his full support.

“This dynamic new enterprise will enhance the wider viability of the docklands, which is currently already enjoying record tonnage throughput across our traditional commercial import and export port,” he said.


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