by Beth Bacheldor

From India to North Carolina – A Data Center for Outsourcing Operations

Nov 17, 2010
Enterprise Applications

Wipro’s subsidiary Infocrossing plans a $75 million green data center in Kings Mountain, N.C., to support clients.

What costs about $75 million to build, will likely manage computer operations for quite a few businesses, and is run by a subsidiary of a top Indian outsourcing firm?

It’s a new data center that is being built in the foothills of the North Carolina mountains by Infocrossing Inc., which is headquartered in Leonia, N.J. and is a subsidiary of India’s Wipro Ltd.

I saw the news online; North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue announced the plans for the data center to be built in Kings Mountain just a few days ago (as a North Carolinian, I was happy to hear about this because our state, as so many others do, desperately needs economic boosts). The data center is expected to bring only about 17 direct technology jobs over the next four years, but the governor says it will also create other opportunities for local companies that will be hired to support the operation of the data center.

I didn’t realize this part of North Carolina, which is about 30 miles west of Charlotte, N.C., was becoming such a high-tech mecca (after all, North Carolina has had Research Triangle Park (RTP) located near Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill for years and years. According to Wikipedia, RTP is the largest research park in the United States. But apparently the region around Kings Mountain is drawing technology companies in. With the announcement of Wipro’s plans, Gov. Perdue said Google, Apple, and Facebook have all opened facilities there.

Apparently Wipro selected North Carolina after searching extensively, and ended up purchasing a vacant, 215,000 square foot structure in Cleveland County, N.C. The company plans to convert the building into a state-of-the-art data center, which will include 80,000 square feet of raised floor, to house corporate clients’ computing operations.

“Our vision for our Cleveland County site is to not only increase our data center footprint, but build a facility that brings the best infrastructure technology to our clients,” Sameer Kishore, president of Wipro’s Infocrossing, said in the prepared statement from Gov. Perdue’s office.

The data center is epected to meet the Uptime Institute’s requirements for a Tier III facility, and will feature multiple levels of security and redundancy, and incorporate “green” technologies designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. The data center will support all major computing platforms including mainframe, iSeries, Windows, Unix and Linux servers, and will house the company’s Dynamically Adaptive Infrastructure cloud computing platform.

The Indian outsourcing firms all continue to build their presence in the United States. Not too long ago, Indian outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) won an award from a Ohio group – the Workforce One Investment Board of Southwest Ohio (WOIB) – for helping to spur interest in IT careers among local high school students and for its commitment to continued learning and development opportunities for its employees (yup, Ohio folks recognized TCS around the same time that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland issued an order that bans the state government from spending any public funds on offshore services). The award was made possible by the fact that TCS has more than 400 employees at the Seven Hills Park office in Milford, Ohio. In the last 15 months, TCS has hired more than 300 new local employees at the Seven Hills Park office, of which 220 are recent US college graduate hires. Back in August, when I spoke with Sury Kant, president of TCS North America, he said that TCS will continue to grow its presence in North America (you can read more on that interview here).

Frankly, I view these investments from Indian firms as positive. They create IT jobs, stimulate local economic growth, and spur the outsourcing market overall. That’s not to say that foreign companies (and their U.S. subsidiaries which of course must abide by our laws and taxations) should be the only ones investing in our economy. Clearly, what we need most is for loads more American companies to invest in our economy. But I’m interested to hear what you all have to say. How do you view these developments?