ClearCube Technology Inc. next year will bulk up its blade PCs with new chips and fiber-optic connectivity that company officials said will make the technology more attractive to the government sector.
The Austin, Texas, company builds back-end blade computers that attach to traditional keyboards, monitors and mice via Ethernet connections. In this way, bulky PCs can be removed from the desktop while making the computer easier to maintain and manage.
In the second or third quarter of next year, ClearCube will introduce blades aimed at high-end users, with dual Intel Corp. Xeon processors, according to company officials. The existing blades feature Intel Pentium 4 chips that run at speeds from 2.2GHz to 2.8GHz.
The blades are stored in a 3U (5.25-inch)-high chassis; each chassis holds as many as eight blades. On the back of the chassis is an interface called BackPack, which supplies all the external connections for the blades, including Ethernet. The Command Port provides all the connections on the users desktop.
ClearCube officials said that next year they will add fiber-optic capabilities to complement the blades Ethernet connectivity. Ethernet is commonly used in the enterprise, but many government agencies work with fiber optics, ClearCube officials said.
In August, ClearCube updated its management suite, Management Console 2.1, which includes a Web browser interface, as well as backup and mirroring features.
Roger Kay, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass., said ClearCubes plan to upgrade its blades to offer dual Xeon chips makes sense, particularly if the company is considering moving into blade servers.
Clearcubes Blade PC Spec Sheet
Kay said the technology has hit a chord with some larger enterprises looking for ways to more easily manage their computers. "The main advantage is that if things go wrong, the PCs are all in one place," he said.
That management will be enhanced as ClearCubes software matures, he said.
Among management features is the ability to easily swap a person to a new blade if one fails; that keeps productivity up while lowering the cost of ownership, both key factors in the tight economy, Kay said.
There is also a security aspect to the blade PCs. Like thin clients, blades keep sensitive data in one place in the back room, rather than allowing people to walk around with it in their laptops or keep it on their desktop PCs, he said.