Tata Communications offering cloud computing services

The company is taking advantage of its investments worldwide in communications and data center infrastructure

India's Tata Communications is offering cloud based computing infrastructure services in India, with plans to extend the services to other markets including the U.S., Europe, Singapore and South Africa.

The new InstaCompute service, launched on Thursday, takes advantage of Tata Communications' investment in global communications infrastructure, managed services, and data centers, Vinod Kumar, president and COO of Tata Communications said at a press conference in Mumbai.

The company has for example a global IP (Internet protocol) network that spans six continents with 150 nodes, and covers both developed and emerging markets, he said. It has also invested Indian rupees 20 billion (US$ 451 million) in data centers in India and abroad.

The infrastructure services that will be offered include compute services, data transfer services, and storage services. The company has already run beta tests of the service with seven clients in India and one each in Singapore and South Africa.

The pay-as-you-use pricing model will free capital that companies can invest in core areas of their business, Kumar said.

The company has started with a public cloud model, and plans to expand the offering in the first half of next year to include private clouds as well, said David Wirt , global head of managed services at Tata Communications. The company will also consider offering hybrid and community clouds, he added.

The current public cloud can be offered as a private cloud to customers that use Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), he added.

Applications that customers already run on their own infrastructure will be moved to the cloud if it is based on standards and runs on popular operating systems like Windows and Linux, Wirt said. The company may acquire hardware like servers and storage from customers on a case-by-case basis, he added.

The service will be offered in India and Singapore this year, with similar services offered in the U.S. and Europe by next year. Tata Communications also plans to offer the services in South Africa.

Tata Communications has also tied up with Google for Google Apps. Its InstaOffice offering to customers will include Internet-based online office collaboration tools like e-mail and chat, and office document applications. The company already offers customer relationship management, contact center, and content storage and management applications through a hosted model.

Besides online sales through a dedicated web site, Tata Communications will work with channel partners, and also engage in some direct sales, Kumar said.

Users will have a web-based view of the service they are getting, and its cost, besides being able to provision services, he said.

A number of Indian telecommunications service providers in India are offering hosted applications and related services to customers with an eye to leveraging their large investments in infrastructure.

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