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ClearCube Gets More Virtual

ClearCube has expanded the virtualization capabilities of its PC blade solution by gaining certification to sell VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). The company announced it would be adding VMware support last month as part of its Sentral v5.5 management software rollout, and now it's official.

While most blade solutions are focused on servers, ClearCube is focused on PC blades, which offer IT departments centralized control over the PC resource. Like a server blade, the actual PC hardware ClearCube offers can be consolidated in a data center or elsewhere and serviced there, greatly simplifying the hardware required at each user's desktop. ClearCube claims organizations deploying its solution gain 99.9 uptime, better security and lower support costs than a more traditional PC network offers.

To date, ClearCube had offered only more limited virtualization in the form of Microsoft Virtual Server and VMware Virtual Server. ClearCube deploys VDI licenses on a per-user basis, not a per-blade basis. ClearCube said sticking to a per-user license is more cost-efficient and allows customers to support the appropriate number of users on a blade.

"We're now the 14th hardware manufacturer certified to run VMware's ESX 3. Before, we weren't authorized," said Tom Josefy, ClearCube's director of product management in an interview with internetnews.com.

"What's significant about this is if you combine VMware with our Sentral management software, the customer or organization can easily mix and match their PC blades resources with a simple drag and drop interface," he added. Also, ESX3 lets VMware offer an expanded number of virtual machines, unlike the more limited Virtual Server product which is free.

With Sentral v5.5's "connection broker" technology, organizations can automatically switch between virtualized and dedicated physical computing resources. ClearCube said such flexibility guarantees end users always have the computing power required to do their jobs effectively.

Analyst Roger Kay with Endpoint Technologies Associates said the VMware certification will help ClearCube tap the growing interest and adoption of virtualization technology to consolidate hardware resources. "As virtualization technology spreads across the enterprise, organizations need to manage both virtual and physical resources efficiently," said Kay.

AtlantiCare, a not-for-profit healthcare system based in New Jersey, is already planning a move to the ClearCube/VMware combination. "We are evaluating our existing desktops and planning a conversion to a more efficient ClearCube and VMware-powered virtual desktop infrastructure over the next three years," said Dan Morreale, CEO of InfoShare/AtlantiCare Information Technology at AtlantiCare.

Morreale said that once implemented, he expects the system will provide the same user experience as a traditional desktop, "while reducing current and future IT costs."