RealTime IT News

ClearCube, a Better Deal With VMware?

ClearCube, a leader in PC blades, is adding support for VMWare's ESX3 Server. The virtualization move is part of the company's Sentral version 5.5 being announced today, with availability slated for May.

Much as a server blade packs the key elements of a server onto a circuit board, ClearCube includes a central processor, memory, hard drive and video processor into a single card. A ClearCube rack in the datacenter houses those cards, giving IT department better centralized management of those PC resources.

Sentral v5.5 manages mixed physical PC blades with VMware-enabled virtual machines. The match lets ClearCube offer the benefits of virtualization (such as centralized control and support of desktops) without sacrificing end-user performance. The SentraIT management software is designed to give IT organizations the exact computing power needed to effectively conduct their jobs.

Research firm IDC estimates that most PCs only get about five percent utilization. The ClearCube solution has the potential to raise that considerably. "This should lower the cost of using PCs," IDC analyst Michael Rose, told internetnews.com. "If you can get to 20 to 25 percent utilization with virtualization, and I think you can, that's saving real money. The ratio of total PCs needed (as blades in the datacenter) versus staff is decreased with this blade solution."

ClearCube is not in the server virtualization business, but sees virtual desktop blade as a natural extension of that model. The idea is that virtualized desktops gives businesses more flexibility to quickly scale out new users and applications while preserving the traditional desktop experience.

"In a globalized economy with an increasingly mobile workforce, this sort of flexibility can be invaluable," ClearCube said in a posting at the company's blog. "IT's role, both now and going forward, needs to grow beyond optimizing operations in the enterprise data center. It has to consider users, as well - and that means virtualizing desktops."

With its virtual abstraction layer, ClearCube Sentral v5.5 is able to support multiple virtual machine types. Other features of Sentral v5.5 include direct interaction with VMware's ESX3 APIs to control power on, power off, hibernate, pause and cold start virtual machines from a single networked location.

Sentral v5.5 identifies virtual machines without the need for an agent in the VMware ESX3 host operating system. ClearCube said this allows customers to create true virtual desktop solutions, managing both physical and virtual machines together to ensure sufficient end-user computing power availability.

"Others are saying, "Do a lot of server consolidation features and put as many desktops in use as you can'," Tom Josefy, director of product management at Clearcube, told internetnews.com. "But we let you see where the activity is so you don't have too many users per blade. It could be five-to-one in one area and eight-to-one in another based on job functions. And this can all be changed and adapted at a central console with a simple drag-and-drop interface."

Josefy said ClearCube's virtual pooling feature gives people a way to know the overall processing in their infrastructure. "In some cases, they may even find they have more capacity than they need," he said.

ClearCube doesn't release pricing which is done through its channel partners. Pricing is based on a per user, per virtual machine basis.