August 17, 2012

Indian Outsourcing Group TCS Acquires HPC-as-a-Service Provider

Robert Gelber

Yesterday, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced its intent to acquire HPC-as-a-Service provider Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) for Rs 188 crore ($34 million). The addition of CRL enables Tata Consultancy Services to offer infrastructure, platform and software services as part of their portfolio. Beyond realizing potential financial gains, India-based TCS is solidifying its footprint in the international marketplace.

A blog suggests the CRL deal has a lot of big data and cloud potential:

I know you probably haven’t heard much about TCS, but this is, if done right, a potentially HUGE cloud play, big data play, etc. TCS can help customers get onto Amazon. Or TCS’s system. Or others. And TCS holds tight contracts with many customers for services and support. Given the depth of HPC experience at CRL, this gets very intriguing going forward with regards to HPC in the cloud.

TCS is part of the Tata group, and is primarily focused in outsourcing global business operations. According to the company website, they employ over 230,000 consultants in 42 countries and recorded $10.17 billion over their last fiscal year.

TCS’ size and revenue is a barometer of a growing Indian economy focused on bolstering its technological capabilities. In 2002, the country had a USDA estimated GDP of $642.11 billion and zero TOP500 systems to its name. Since then, their economy has roughly doubled, and they now have five clusters in the TOP500. One of those systems is now the property of TCS.

The number of HPC systems and services are likely to grow as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an initiative calling for significant increases in R&D spending. IBN detailed Singh’s proposal made back in January:

In the 12th five year plan period, the Prime Minister hopes to double the R&D budget for science and technology from 1 percent of the GDP to at least 2 percent.

The country’s current outlook is not completely rosy though, as the rapid economic expansion has strained its basic infrastructures. This summer, one of India’s regional electric grids failed. The ensuing outage was the largest recorded worldwide, leaving over 600 million people without power.

Needless to say, datacenters and HPC facilities require plenty of electricity to operate. If India’s power grid suffers similar failures in the future, it could reduce international confidence in companies like TCS and hinder overall growth.

Current troubles aside, the recent news serves as an indicator that India’s tech industry is maturing.

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