RealTime IT News

Vista-Ready PC Blades

ClearCube has announced it has begun shipping faster versions of its PC blade system based on Intel dual-core Pentium (the ClearCube R1300) and Xeon processors (the ClearCube R2200).

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 the PC resource.

The ClearCube system enables secure wired or wireless user connections between centralized blades and remote access devices. New management software, called ClearCube Sentral, is designed to let IT administrators manage entire blade deployments from a single console. In addition, Sentral supports virtualized desktop computing environments for increased utilization of computer resources.

While Microsoft's next-generation Vista operating system isn't due until next year, ClearCube said its latest offering is "Vista-ready," with enough memory and graphics horsepower to run Vista's Aero user interface. Although Vista will run on most PCs of recent vintage, the advanced Aero interface, which is not necessary to run Vista, does require relatively high-end graphics.

"Most of our customers are large enterprises and government agencies we don't expect jump on the Vista bandwagon right away," Ken Knotts, senior technologist at ClearCube, told internetnews.com. "But we want them to know we're Vista-ready and that they're buying a technology that is good for the long haul."

Pricing starts at $1,799 per blade, which Knotts positions as between a PC and a server. But ClearCube touts the total-cost-of-ownership savings its approach offers versus traditional PCs. IDC backed up that claim last year in a study that said ClearCube could provide more than 40 percent savings in operating costs.

"With Vista on the horizon and client virtualization becoming more prevalent, IT administrators need to consider the long-term scalability of their investments," said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates and co-author of the IDC study. "By leveraging Intel's processors in the new blades, ClearCube has shown an ability to assure this long-term scalability."

In addition to its own sales organization, Austin, TX-based ClearCube made a deal last year that allows Lenovo to resell ClearCube's products.