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December 26, 1997


The SGI Design

Silicon Graphics is investing Rs 250 million over
two years to buy itself a new avatar in India.

Silicon Graphics Systems (India) Limited, the Indian subsidiary of Silicon Graphics Inc, is planning an investment of Rs 200-250 million over the next two years to give shape to the new 'avatar' of SGI India and substance to their 'SAARCian dream'.

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An SGI SAARC Technology Centre will be established in India within a year. This investment is part of SGI India's overall objective of developing a better environment for business computing in the country, according to Ashok Desai, managing director, SAARC region, SGI.

The SAARCian dream also comprises: (i) The establishment of a centre of competence for 'online transaction processing', or OLTP, expertise. (ii) Building a base for cost-effective benchmarking and training. (iii) The expansion of the Indian test and repair centre to cater to the entire SAARC region. (iv) The development of system integration skills for solution sales. (v) And investing more into building customer support infrastructure.

SGI will also be leveraging the skilled science and technology manpower in India to build a world-class, cost-effective software development and code-optimisation base.

"SGI has been under tremendous pressure to come up with an NT platform,'' said Desai. "It is not as if our existing customers are migrating. But the NT demand from the customer base the world over has increased significantly over the past six months. MIS managers are increasingly asking for a choice in computing platforms,'' he added. This, in turn, has made SGI sit up and decide to enter the Windows-Intel market.

"But," Desai emphasised, "this will be an SGI product and not one of the many Windows NT-Intel clones. Only the microprocessor will come from Intel. The rest of the system is being designed and built by SGI. This will be a differentiated product. Innovation is an important requirement to sustain viability over a period.''

The Windows-Intel roadmap of SGI begins with the introduction of a 32-bit Wintel platform in the second half of 1998 and a 64-bit platform in 1999.

SGI is currently working on achieving NT/UNIX inter-operability with file sharing, networking, administration, data conversion and collaboration. All Windows NT applications will run and can be accelerated on SGI without modification.

Intel and Microsoft will also certify 100 per cent compatibility for SGI's products. SGI, while building key differentiation into the products will also be focussing on using its experience with RISC and CISC (with Motorola) architectures to offer them at competitive prices.

While admitting that these products will be slightly higher priced, Desai pointed out that this will be more than offset by the inter-operability option, higher performance, advanced graphics and media strengths built into them.

SGI has reaffirmed its commitment to the UNIX platform with a powerful roadmap including new versions of the CPU every six months. Plans also include introduction of three new UNIX 'workstation graphics architecture' within the next 24 months and improvements to the IRIX OS.

On market strategy, Desai said the focus would be on the mid-range and high-end enterprise market for manufacturing, telecom and financial services.

"Our presence in manufacturing has, until now, been predominantly in the design departments. We are now looking to extend that into ERP products and Web-enabled intranets. In telecom, we are not looking at just 'billing and settlement packages' but also into areas like Internet applications and Web site hosting. We expect the market to open up after the implementation of the Internet policy. In the financial services sector, we would be leveraging our data mining tool, Mine Set v.2.0, to offer solutions for global risk management, investment portfolio management and trading on the floor among others,'' said Desai.

On the broadcast side, SGI is keen to introduce several new products for the film and entertainment sector in India within the next six months.

These include non-linear editing suites, post-production and on-air editing suites. These are already available in other parts of the world and have been delayed in India due to the Broadcast Bill hanging fire for the past several months.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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