Microsoft has submitted plans for a $500 million data center campus at Grange Castle in Dublin, Ireland, according to the Sunday Business Post (link via Zero Downtime). The company is seeking permission to build a two-story 550,428 square foot facility that would include both office and data center space.
Microsoft has not confirmed that it will build in Dublin, saying only that Ireland is "the preferred location for the development of a data centre." Last month the company paid about $15.7 million to purchase 19 acres of land owned by the South Dublin County Council, according to the Business Post. A final decision on whether to proceed with the project is expected in early autumn.
The announcement reflects Microsoft's accelerating expansion of its data center platform, following on last week's groundbreaking for a huge data center in San Antonio and the opening of its Quincy, Washington facility in March. These huge data centers will support Microsoft's Live family of web-based services.
As we noted in our initial report on Microsoft's Dublin prospects back in May, Dublin is one of the hottest data center markets in Europe. Digital Realty Trust (DLR) has announced a 120,000 square foot greenfields data center project in Dublin, and already owns two existing facilities spanning 140,000 square feet that are fully leased, with gross annual rents between $70 and $80 per square foot. Ireland is an attractive destination for data centers because it has a trained IT workforce and good connectivity. Microsoft has had operations in Ireland since 1985 and employs 1,200 full-time staff and about 700 contractors at four centres in Dublin, including a European operations centre and a product development centre, according to Irish news accounts.