NComputing lands big India deal

The PC sharing start-up, headed by former eMachines CEO Stephen Dukker, announces it has begun wiring 5,000 schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
2 min read

Redwood City start-up NComputing, whose technology uses the power of a single PC to power up to seven computing terminals, is set to announce on Monday that it has started the process of equipping 5,000 schools in India with its technology.

NComputing will provide about 50,000 students with access to the Internet as part of the deal, which will use two PCs in each computer lab to power 10 terminals at schools in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The deal itself is part of a $100 million effort that includes operating and powering the lab for five years, as well as all the needed gear. NComputing's chunk of that is about $2 million.

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CEO Stephen Dukker said in an interview that his company is proving that virtualization doesn't have to be technologically complex, noting that of the more than 1 million seats his company has sold, 60 percent are in the developing world.

"Virtualization, which arguably is the most advanced state of the art, does not have to be this complex mix of acronyms we seen," he said. "What we've shown is it can scale down to some of the most economically challenged environments in the world."

Dukker said that by using two PCs in each computer lab, the set-up in India helps provide some redundancy. That helps address one of the limitations to NComputing's approach--because one PC powers several terminals, if something goes wrong in that PC, a whole classroom could find itself offline.

"When you share a PC you do have a single point of failure," Dukker said.

Last month, NComputing announced it had recruited longtime Microsoft executive Will Poole to serve as the company's co-chairman.