US computer giant Dell plans to open "cloud computing" research and support centres in Ireland, creating 150 jobs for the heavily indebted country, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny announced on Tuesday.
Kenny said it was a "flagship investment" that demonstrated Dell's commitment to Ireland and was an important step in making the country a centre for cloud computing, which refers to the hosting online of shared resources and software.
"Ireland has become a focal point of global information technology development, and Dell's decision to locate new strategic resources in Ireland will help us to realise our ambition of becoming a centre of excellence for cloud," Kenny told reporters.
Dell will open a research centre in Dublin and a support centre in Limerick, southwest Ireland, as part of Dell's previously-announced plans to invest $1.0 billion (682 million euros) globally in new technology solutions and services.
The developments will involve the recruitment of 150 software engineers, IT architects, engineers and developers across both sites over the next two years.
Jeff Clarke, vice chairman of Dell's global operations and end user computing solutions, said the Irish investments are central to its strategy of establishing leadership in cloud computing.
Dell, which first set up operations in Ireland in 1990, currently employs about 2,300 people across the country in sales and service operations, with about 1,000 in Limerick and 1,300 in Cherrywood, County Dublin.
The US giant cut 1,900 jobs at its Limerick plant in 2008 when it moved its production unit to Poland.
In a boost to Ireland, which recently needed a huge financial bailout, one of the fastest growing Silicon Valley cloud computing companies, Marketo, announced in May that it would create 125 jobs in Dublin over the next three years.
Ireland's new government meanwhile plans to establish its own research centre in cloud computing, at a cost of 5.0 million euros.
A report by Microsoft predicted Ireland's cloud computing industry could employ 8,600 people by 2014 and be worth 9.5 billion euros a year.
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