Downturn didn't stop CloudCIX expanding

Downturn didn't stop CloudCIX expanding
Downturn didn't stop CloudCIX expanding

CloudCIX has two distinct parts to the business, explains founder and MD Jerry Sweeney. Best known for its data centre services, offering connectivity for Munster businesses, the company has also developed a new cloud-computing offer, making the technology available to businesses of all sizes.

In 2018, CloudCIX undertook a €6m investment, which increased its size to 3,000 sq m and brought a 500% increase in connectivity capacity. Following the investment, the company inked an agreement with SIRO, the wholesale broadband operator building Ireland’s only 100% fibre optic network.

“Cork Internet eXchange, our original company name, was founded in 2008 in the middle of a recession, which is not ordinarily the best time to launch a business,” explains Sweeney.

We knew, though, that there was a strong demand for connectivity given the range of multinationals and technology companies in Cork, so the company grew despite the downturn.

A serial IT entrepreneur, Sweeney has been recognised for his contribution to the industry over the past 35 years, receiving awards such as Technology Leader of the Year from it@Cork.

“Demand for our services has continued to increase, so we took the strategic decision to invest substantially in the business to cement our position as the best provider of connectivity in the region, as well as tapping into the demand for cloud computing, which has traditionally only really been accessible to large enterprises,” he says.

“SIRO’s rollout in Cork City has established the city as the broadband capital of Ireland, and we see ourselves facilitating the next wave of data-driven companies and innovators in Cork in the technology, media, and finance sectors.”

With growing adoption of cloud, the company have developed their own cloud platform to offer self-provisioned Cloud Services to customers, including Masterlink Logistics and Cork County Council.

“The development of this platform was a major R&D cost and has huge potential for international customers. As a result, we rebranded our company as CloudCIX.”

Ultimately CloudCIX’s success is tied to the growth of data in Ireland, he explains, and with upload and download demands set to skyrocket as businesses and consumers adopt more data intensive services, the business is well placed to succeed into the future.

Sweeney says: “Our recent investment and expansion will allow us to cater for further connectivity demands.

“Given our position as the data centre with the lowest latency to North America in all of Europe, as well as our direct connectivity to London and future subsea connectivity to mainland Europe, we are primed to do so.”

A consistent investment in innovation in order to stay ahead of the competition and to ensure the best services to existing customers has underpinned the progress of CloudCIX. “Of all industries, the technology sector has undergone the most rapid change and continues to evolve quickly.

“Our new partnership with SIRO is a good example of this as fibre is going to be the backbone of broadband connectivity. We do not rest on our laurels and still have one eye on the future with the launch of low earth orbit satellite systems by entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. We see a huge opportunity to offer services to satellite broadband service providers in the future as a result of Ireland’s geographic position,” he adds.

Given predictions that Cork will become the fastest growing city in Ireland over the next 20 years with the city’s population set to treble to 360,000 in a wider region of 750,000, Sweeney isoptimistic for the future.

“Cork City is ideally placed to leverage this with a large amount of office space due to come on stream, with rental prices far lower than the equivalent space in Dublin on average, along with a lower cost of living. In addition to this, we have a young talented workforce with great third-level educational institutions producing highly skilled graduates.”

Sweeney also points to the huge investment in Cork and SIRO announcing a €70m investment in the county, “which will see us having the same level of broadband connectivity as leading international hubs like Tokyo”.

As a result, Cork is ideally positioned to attract more foreign direct investment, he believes, as well as seeing local entrepreneurs set up and expand their operations in the city, rather than move to Dublin.

“Our partnership with SIRO will enable telcos in Cork to connect to SIRO easily and quickly and resellservices powered by SIRO.

Thirty-thousand homes already receive broadband services from CIX customers, and this new partnership ensures that our clients will be able to access SIRO’s Fibre-to-the-Building technology, which is recognised as the gold standard of broadband connectivity.

Providing symmetrical speeds of 1G, the SIRO network supports upload speeds that are over 50 times faster than traditional copper networks.

“For business and enterprise customers in Cork, having access to a high speed always-on connection, allowing them to transfer large data files and video-conference in high definition with anyone anywhere anytime, is transformative.”

Giving access to SIRO’s Gigabit broadband to CloudCIX clients adds another string to their bow and underlines Cork’s position as the broadband capital of Ireland, says Sweeney.

While the roots of the business will always be tied to the Munster region, the new cloud-computing platform has significant international appeal and has already resulted in increased business overseas. “Our focus now is to identify a number of partners in new key markets to drive the growth of the company and we are very excited about the future.”

On the eventual roll-out of the National Broadband Plan, and the potential of Low Earth Orbit satellites, Sweeney says:

“Fibre is one of the most amazingly simple, elegant and powerful technologies on this planet. While 5G is going to be another defining telecommunications technology, it is not going to work without a fibre backbone. The rollout of 5G will therefore require a huge amount of fibre rollout.”

In terms of LEO satellites, he sees two huge opportunities for Ireland. “One is to consume the service, but a far bigger opportunity for Ireland, I think, is to be a service provider delivering bandwidth up to the devices. Ireland, as the western-most location in Europe, means that the density of satellites in the Irish sky will be higher than almost all other places on the planet.

“In 10 years’ time, there will be 100 satellites in the sky above Ireland at any moment.

“LEO satellite coverage will potentially be able to give 100,000 locations in Ireland broadband connectivity. But the real opportunity for us is actually supplying services to those LEO satellites such as in-flight entertainment for delivery across the north Atlantic.”

Source: Business News