After 21 years’ Gary Watson is a worthy winner for the DCS Data Centre Industry Contribution of the Year Award. Our submission on behalf of Gary Watson, is focused on his 'firsts for the industry', his innovations but also the difference he has made to Ireland – a country that is now firmly on the map for data centre location.
MAKING WAVES IN DATA CENTRES FOR TWO DECADES
With over two decades experience working across the telecoms, data centre, managed services and cloud sector across Europe, Gary has made a significant contribution to the technology sector in Ireland.
His flourishing career began in the early-nineties, when Watson joined TeleCity during the early start-up phase in 1998. Having spent a number of years rolling out new facilities across Europe, he then moved to Ireland to establish and run the Irish business.
After the merger between TeleCity, Redbus and Globix UK, he was appointed as Senior Operations Manager in 2006, based in London UK. Watson led and managed seven key data centres and the integration of the three newly merged businesses before moving to Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) as the Country Manager for Ireland.
Now Country Manager for Asia’s leading Real Estate Investment Trust – Keppel, Watson has undertaken innovative projects to extend the life of the data centres in a sustainable and commercially successful way.
THE STORY BEGINS IN '98
Gary joined TeleCity as a Startup in 1998 in Manchester and rolled out carrier data centres across Europe (Manchester, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt Paris and Dublin). He settled in Ireland in 2000 after building one of the first carrier neutral data centres and worked along side the Department of Public Enterprise and Global Crossing delivering the first point of presence to enable the delivery of the interconnection between the US and Ireland.
After the dot com bubble burst, Gary successfully grew the business and led a Sale and Lease-back Deal with BT Ireland. He continued to drive the business in Ireland and won the first data centre services 10-year deal with ESB and rolled in numerous international carriers with Citywest, which later then became the home of the Irish Internet exchange and their team.
In 2003, Gary won the first data centre services 10-year deal with ESB and was the first to deliver a VM based platform to the hosting industry.
In 2006 Gary moved into a Senior Operations roll for Telecom and took on the challenge to integrate operations and client delivery into a single unit from the three organizations TeleCity, Redbus and Globix in London.
IRELAND WAS A KEY PART OF THE JOURNEY
On return back to Ireland with an indigenous hosting company, Gary led the first delivery of a VM based platform with HP and good friends in Evros. 2010 saw his acquisition of the hosting company by Sungard AS, a US based Business Continuity and IT services organization. As Country Manager, Gary worked alongside a number of Government bodies both home and abroad to promote the Irish tech sector. Not only did he drive significant investments in Sungard AS but created further employment.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
As country manager for Keppel and as a board member for host in Ireland, Watson has continued to promote his new home, Ireland, as a land for investment. In 2016, Gary joined Keppel DC REIT after the acquisition of Citadel 100, which rebranded to Keppel Data Centres.
Since then, he has secured significant investment (over 120m euros) to drive change in the Irish data Centres. Leading one of the largest upgrades of a live data Centre seen to date in Ireland, this upgrade is driving a more energy efficient delivery using some of the latest technologies available in the industry.
In the past four years Gary has generated over €120m+ investment on Keppel alone. Through continuous investment opportunities and his role in Host in Ireland, Gary has helped put Ireland on the map as a provider of Data Centre services to the globe, including Asia, the USA and China.
In 2015, he created, promoted and gained the approval of a new five-year Irish strategy to the US Global Leadership team driving investment in a new data centre, people and managed services with significant revenue targets within Sungard AS Ireland.
In addition to all of this, Gary's tireless approach to the evolution of data centres, investment in Ireland and the data Centres’ sustainable agenda, has resulted in him being one of the founding members of the successful Host in Ireland initiative. After six years he continues to be a Member of the Host In Ireland Executive Council with some of the industry leading figures in the data centre industry promoting Ireland globally.
THE FIRST PUBLIC CLOUD OFFERING
Gary has managed the successful first global public cloud offering for Sungard AS.
Now a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, announced its most significant expansion in the Irish market to date, in partnership with Digital Realty Trust.
This investment set up by Gary increased Sungard AS’ presence and capability within Ireland, and at the same time its commitment to driving substantial business growth across the region. Named as 'a crucial gateway for US based organisations seeking to do business in Europe', Sungard AS has since experienced significant growth.
Innovation for data Centre customers
Gary's systems have improved efficiencies in delivery of hosting services through virtualisation. He has delivered a greater energy efficient Data Centre project in Citywest and has championed new products in the Data Centre and managed service industry to allow for great agility in service delivery
INNOVATION FOR INVESTORS
With a clear understanding of data centres as an investment for funds or for a nation, Gary has helped to support the billions of euros that are invested in data centre hosting in Ireland. Gary's tireless approach and passion for the evolution of data centres has resulted in more than just investment and putting Ireland on the map for data centres.
As one of the five founding members of Host in Ireland he has worked with Garry Connolly and the Host In Ireland team to drive forward the significance of data for the world and help to put Ireland on the map for hosting some of the globes largest operators.
In the past two years, Gary has contributed to address the controversy around the green credentials for data Centres. From working on the DCs for Bees initiative to ensuring that his own data centres are green and have a low carbon impact on the environment.