New Forms in The Battle to Protect Data
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HP is targeting the data center market with PC blades that offer to curb IT ownership costs while improving data security.
Tad Bodeman, director of PC blade and thin client solutions for HP, said the HP bc1500 blade PC is based on HP BladeSystem technology and powered by AMD's Athlon 64 chip, which consumes relatively little power. The machine was developed in HP's Consolidated Client Infrastructure (CCI) portfolio.
Bodeman said HP has taken the PC and redesigned it by breaking it into its key components.
As that is happening, HP uses Microsoft's Active Directory and roaming profiles software to associate the user's data and personal settings to the physical blade PC their being connected to.
Bodeman said this approach helps pare traditional desktop computing risks such as theft, viruses and lost data.
"What this delivers to the customer is the ability to centralize their data and put a secure thin client on the desk that eliminates the possibility of end users storing, removing, losing or sharing sensitive data," Bodeman said. "No data ever resides on the thin client."
It also helps business cut IT costs by eliminating work the customers have to do on distributed PCs. For example, when a hard drive fails on a PC, an end user has to make several help desk calls to get the machine restored. This is not only expensive, but it could take hours or days.
By contrast, the hard drive is not on the thin client -- it's on the blade PC in the data center. If that drive fails, a users simply logs back on and get their data associated to a new blade.
The blade PC is available now in the United States and Australia, with pricing depending on region.
HP believes its estimated 69 percent annual growth in the thin client market and the blade PC will help it drive the blade PC market.
The company faces competition from IBM, which announced a joint venture for a PC blade with partner VMware, Hitachi and PC blade pioneer ClearCube.
Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle said HP's new entry is arguably the most advanced.
"They have architected this down to a processor level (the others use generic Intel) to get vastly higher shelf (and rack) densities and have normalized the management tools on their existing systems' Altiris management structure," Enderle said.
Enderle said the market for blade PCs could be large.
"Potentially very large this could, at some point, become the enterprise PC business and through hosting companies evolve to penetrate even small business at some point," Enderle said.
"The current patch rate for software alone is just short of unmanageable and were it to accelerate much more (which, given the trend seems very likely) the market could move aggressively to this platform."