NICE: Scotland is touting itself as a data centre haven thanks to its cool climate, access to numerous power sources and close links to major internet routes, as it looks to entice major internet firms to the area.
The growing demand for optimal data centre sites from IT giants and co-location providers means many nations – such as Iceland and Sweden, which secured a data centre build from Facebook last year – are competing for investment and Scotland is doing the same.
With a stand at the DataCentres Europe event, Blake Hutchinson, senior international trade executive for Scottish Development International, told V3 that a combination of factors should appeal to data centre firms and the government is in the process of approving several sites.
To date 11 sites have been shortlisted, such as Irvine Bay on the east coast, and this will be narrowed down to four or five sites in the near future after a consultation period, which is currently taking place.
"We are a net creator of power so we're not going to run out or suffer any outages like in the south [of the UK] or in other European nations. What's more, 40 percent of our energy is produced by renewables, from wind, wave, tidal and hyrdroelectric, so this meets the green aspect too," he said." As well as this, we are at a low risk from any terrorist threats, have a stable geological environment and because we're on high land there are no flooding problems."
The nation also has multiple entry and exit points on major internet routes, Hutchinson explained, across to the US, down to London and into Europe. There are also plans to build a new internet exchange in Edinburgh.
Scotland is also confident that it can provide the skilled workforce necessary for any firms setting up data centre facilities in the region. "Edinburgh and Glasgow turn out highly skilled graduates and we also have the Silicon Glen legacy of high tech companies in the area," added Hutchinson.
Rival nations such as Sweden, Iceland and Lithuania were also out in force at the event, hoping to entice new data centre builds. However, Scotland's delegation claimed they have an edge on their rivals: cold weather all year round.
"Lots of nations talk about their cool climates but they get a lot hotter than Scotland in the summer months, whereas we have ambient temperatures all the time," Hutchinson said.
Interest has already surfaced, although no deals have yet been signed, but the delegation said they are confident that, like Sweden's headline-grabbing Facebook deal, they will secure contracts in the future to make Scotland, "a key part of the internet's global infrastructure".
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