IBM’s BladeCenter Powers The PC


With longtime partner VMware by its side, IBM today unveiled a new software
service that provisions desktop functionality to any PC from BladeCenter
servers.

IBM’s Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure uses a combination of
VMware’s ESX Server virtualization software and Citrix Presentation Server
client access software to provision computing chores from IBM’s BladeCenter
system.


The Citrix software works with VMware’s software to provision hosted clients
running Windows XP. IBM said customers will be able to print documents and
enjoy such perks as USB drive support, dual monitors and audio.


Using the IBM blade servers as their base power for the hosted service,
corporate users limit susceptibility to theft and viruses, downtime during a
hard drive failure, or having to rebuild their preferences and settings
after each client “refresh.”


Besides basic machine consolidation, the hosted service’s provisioning agenda
helps increase a user’s performance by meeting the performance needs of each
virtual hosted client machine. This lets corporations support more users
with fewer resources.


Tim Dougherty, director of IBM’s BladeCenter strategy, said the software is intended for workers who need to access
their computers frequently, as well as for remote employees and branch
office environments.


“We think it’s going to be particularly compelling for people in remote
offices, whether that be a retail store, auto dealer or certain knowledge
workers where security is important, such as financial services and software
development,” Dougherty said.


Dougherty said the deal, announced at VMWorld 2005, is a byproduct of the
collaboration between IBM, VMware and Citrix in Blade.org, a community
focused on accelerating the expansion of blade systems such as Big Blue’s
BladeCenter.


This approach, while new from IBM, is not new to the market per se.
Vendors such as ClearCube Technology and HP already have had solutions in
the market for the last five years.

In fact, ClearCube claims to have pioneered the concept of centralized PC blade computing.


But Dougherty said the difference between IBM’s new hosted
virtualization and ClearCube’s technology is that IBM uses virtualization to
provision more client instances than what ClearCube is capable of provisioning.


“I’ll probably run somewhere between 10 to 15 instances of a client on a
particular server, so I can get up to 80 percent utilization on that
server,” Dougherty said.


IBM’s global services group will deliver Virtualized Hosted Client
Infrastructure in the first quarter of 2006.

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